PTSD Service Dog Program

What is the PTSD service dog program?

Training such a highly specialized service dog takes time. So we start early. Our service dogs begin their training as early as 8 weeks old. We say full Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) training takes 18 months with their respective beneficiary, but really that depends on the dog and its partner. Before our dogs meet their new life partner, they live with our foster families. They learn far more than basic obedience. By the time our PTSD service dogs meet their beneficiary, they are already exposed to a variety of different scenarios. Each dog goes through approximately 2000 to 2500 hours of training. We often get asked what the dogs are trained to do but tasks vary from beneficiary and there is no cookie cutter recipe. Tasks include but are not limited to as turning on lights, opening and closing doors and drawers and retrieving dropped objects, detecting and responding to a crisis situation, etc. Ultimately, the service dogs will assist their beneficiary not just with anxiety alerts, but also with the whole healing process, providing constant companionship that supports the journey to recovery.

Our PTSD service dogs help assist with:

  • Re-integrate and socialize
  • Recognize early symptoms of anxiety or emotional distress
  • Interrupt nightmares
  • Increase confidence and a sense of belonging to civilian society
  • Assume leadership responsibilities

What do we evaluate/take into consideration when evaluating for our PTSD Service Dog Program?

  • Does the type of request fall into our scope of practice/limitations and have realistic expectations? 
  • Based on the client’s needs, is it likely that we can locate and train a dog within a reasonable amount of time? 
  • Does the client (or family) seem realistic and accept our application, training, placement and follow-up practices? 
  • Is the client (or family) close enough to our facility to allow for follow-up services, or can other arrangements be made? 
  • Is the client capable of assuming financially the estimated annual cost of a service dog such as grooming, food, insurance, etc. 
  • Does the client (or family) appear able to adequately care for an assistance dog? 
  • Does the client (or family) have basic adequate knowledge for an assistance dog? 
  • Does the client live in an environment that would be safe, comfortable and spacious enough for a dog? 
  • Does the client demonstrate a desire to communicate with and become a partner with the Asista Foundation? 

Meeting the evaluation guidelines does not guarantee acceptance into our program. The eligibility of a person is also subject to a thorough analysis of the application by the admissions department.

Applying for a PTSD Service Dog

The application process is rigorous. If you feel you are a good candidate for our program, we do invite you to apply. If you would like to know the application process, please consult our programs page located on the menu.