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(PSD) Psychiatric Service Dog

In December 2020, the Department of Transportation in the United States decided to treat Emotional Support Animals as normal pets in the future.

DoT made the recommendation to the airlines the previous special status of Emotional Support Animals (ESA’s) no longer to recognize.

American Airlines and Alaska Airlines have so far responded to this call, and we expect other US airlines to follow suit. We also believe that European airlines (in Europe the ESAs never had the same status) will no longer allow ESA’s in the cabin.

The Ministry of Transport has also issued a directive requiring trained psychiatric service dogs to continue to be transported in the cabin.

The background to this development is the abuse that has been committed in America with ESA confirmations and also with ESA animals.

As ESAeurope, we can absolutely understand this development, since we originally developed from the training of therapy animals. The question for us now is how we can offer a corresponding training “online”, which allows us to offer adapted confirmations for psychiatric service dogs in further course.

In contrast to the “normal” ESA animal, a service dog is a dog and other animal species are not currently intended as psychiatric service animal. This is the first big difference. In addition, a service dog is a trained dog and not simply an animal that has built up a special relationship and closeness to its owner.

The good news is that more than 90% of all reported animals are already dogs and the training for the Psychiatric Service Dog is not specified. However, the Department of Transport has defined criteria which we will now integrate into appropriate training. Examples are:

  • Understand and follow the commands “Seat”, “Place”, “Stay”
  • Dog must walk on a loose leash and not pull. Dog walks past other dogs and behaves inconspicuously in the crowd (not jumping up or jumping up, constantly barking, growling, snapping, biting, teeth fing) – negative excesses must be controllable and stellable.
  • Proof of cleanliness (on command to ease)
  • Proof of good and calm behavior (bite inhibition, admission of safety checks, or body checks) including contact of strangers
  • Mastery of non-verbal and individual characters (why this dog is for me) – 3-5 special specifications that my dog is doing for me and which I can show – it’s really a service dog and not a normal well-behaved dog
  • Wearing diapers, dishes and a bite basket without any problems

Our idea is now to generate these basic criteria in a training catalogue with exercises, which are then proved doing an online exam. An important goal is to make the whole training as simple as possible and to adapt it to the “Psychiatric Service Dog” alone, not to a general service dog.

This training is then a prerequisite for the acquisition of ESAeurope

Psychiatric Service Dog Card (plus the necessary confirmations)

We are already working together with TAT Austria (animals as therapy) to develop a corresponding training and hope to present you all in the near future more details.

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