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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking for a non combat related PTSD service dog in Minnesota, and I am at my wits end trying to find anyplace that will work with me. It is either Veterans with PTSD or psychiatric help for seizures/autism/etc. I cannot find any place that will work with me. Does anyone happen to know of someplace that will help? I'm willing to travel if necessary, though most places I see require you live within a certain distance of their adoption agency. Thanks in advance.
 

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If you don’t mind my asking what type of PTSD do you have? What caused it basically is what you would need to say. There are some different PTSD dogs. I know because my uncle had a PTSD dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If you don’t mind my asking what type of PTSD do you have? What caused it basically is what you would need to say. There are some different PTSD dogs. I know because my uncle had a PTSD dog.
Emotional and psychological abuse. It results in extreme social anxiety, panic attacks, and the like. My therapist thought having a service dog would allow me to start working my way back into society.
 

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Have you tried Pawsitivity Service Dogs? They say they serve both veterans and civilians in their section on PTSD.

Owner-training is an option in the US, though I'd recommend finding a trainer who is experienced with training service dogs (here is an example - don't know the trainer, just that they explicitly talk about training service dogs on their site). I know some will help evaluate service dog prospects as well, whether you're adopting from a shelter or looking at a litter. This is frequently more expensive, and you'll be doing a lot of the foundational training (with the trainer's guidance), so it's very different from going through a charity. But it also allows you flexibility in deciding what tasks you need trained and how your train them, and it means avoiding the wait list many charitable organizations have. Definitely not an option for everyone, but it is absolutely legal to do in the US, and your dog will be just as much a service dog in the eyes of the law as one from a charity or program.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Have you tried Pawsitivity Service Dogs? They say they serve both veterans and civilians in their section on PTSD.

Owner-training is an option in the US, though I'd recommend finding a trainer who is experienced with training service dogs (here is an example - don't know the trainer, just that they explicitly talk about training service dogs on their site). I know some will help evaluate service dog prospects as well, whether you're adopting from a shelter or looking at a litter. This is frequently more expensive, and you'll be doing a lot of the foundational training (with the trainer's guidance), so it's very different from going through a charity. But it also allows you flexibility in deciding what tasks you need trained and how your train them, and it means avoiding the wait list many charitable organizations have. Definitely not an option for everyone, but it is absolutely legal to do in the US, and your dog will be just as much a service dog in the eyes of the law as one from a charity or program.
Thank you for your response! I have looked at Pawsitivity, but I have not been able to get a hold of anyone as of yet for information. Their website says they only accept applications about twice per year and do not currently have any dogs to apply for.

I'm not opposed to your idea for owner-training. I am unfamiliar on the laws regarding service dogs in-training and am not sure if my apartment will allow me to have a service dog in-training. You mentioned that the dog will be as much of a service dog in the eyes of the law, but how will I be able to provide proof that it is, in fact, undergoing service dog training? I will be contacting the trainer from your link tomorrow to see what information I can gather.

I really appreciate all the help from this thread! This has been a difficult experience trying to track down someplace that will work with me. It's good to know there are people willing to offer their advice.
 

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@Shiroyasha08 I would recommend you find a service dog training place that tailors the dog specifically to your needs. It sounds like you would need and ACDD trained dog. I’m not sure the name of a place that does this but I know they are there. I could do some research for you if you would like?
 

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Ah, yeah, the SDiT laws differ state to state, so you'd have to look into the specific regulations in MN. They are not protected by the federal ADA law until they're fully trained. If you do want to go that route and your landlord doesn't approve of bending the rules for a SDiT, I'd see if your therapist thinks a prescription for an ESA - Emotional Support Animal - is appropriate for you. ESAs can be any animal of any age and training, as the benefits they provide are more about giving the patient something to love and care for. Assuming your apartment is covered by the Fair Housing Act (the exceptions are listed here, but there's relatively few), they will have to allow an ESA with no added charges or fees. There's nothing preventing a dog who is originally an ESA from becoming a Service Dog once they have the appropriate training.

Just to add - not for you, @Shiroyasha08, but anyone lurking or who finds this thread sometime in the future - that getting an ESA letter should not be a way to get around housing restrictions, pet rent, or fees for people who don't have a genuine disability or mental health condition that means an ESA is important to their quality of life. Please don't attempt to lie to a health care provider or buy a letter off some online store. These animals are protected by law because there are genuinely people out there who need them as part of their therapy and recovery, and when we take advantage of these systems for our own convenience, we risk those protections being taken away from those they're meant to help. (I was told several times by literal strangers who knew nothing about my mental and physical health to just get my doctor to label my first dog an ESA to avoid paying extra. It was appalling.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@Shiroyasha08 I would recommend you find a service dog training place that tailors the dog specifically to your needs. It sounds like you would need and ACDD trained dog. I’m not sure the name of a place that does this but I know they are there. I could do some research for you if you would like?
I would greatly appreciate it! I'm very new to this and don't have a lot of connections.
 

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Just a follow up in case anyone is still reading this thread:

I think, based on all your suggestions and my own research, that my best course of action would be to get an Emotional Service Dog with the intent to train it as a full-fledged service dog. My understanding of housing law leads me to believe my apartment will allow an ESA. I am looking at getting a Doberman Pinscher, for multiple reasons. I've read that they actually make good apartment dogs, and they are very highly spoken of in regards to emotional support and as service dogs.

My problem now is finding a trainer. A family friend happens to be a behavioral trainer for problem dogs, as well as basic obedience and puppy training, and she is willing to help me with the basics. I need to find a trainer that will work on training psychiatric-PTSD service dogs or attempt to train the dog myself. Does anyone have an opinion on this? Is it severely difficult to train a service animal on your own? I am having difficulty finding private dog trainers in general let alone ones that specialize in service dogs. I have attempted to contact Aurum Canine Services, as someone posted a link previously, but I think I should probably find more options in case that place does not do the kind of training I need. The main places in Minnesota (Pawspective, Can-Do-Canines, Helping Paws, and Pawsitivity) have all told me that they cannot help me.
 

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My understanding is that a major part of successfully training a service dog is choosing the right candidate. The vast majority of dogs - even some dogs from service dog breeding programs! - are not suitable for the work, even if they're lovely pets and companions. It's public access that's the major sticking point, since you need a dog who's extremely stable but not overly social, but still sensitive enough to stay tuned in to your needs and perform their tasks successfully.

I have not trained a service dog before. I am absolutely fascinated by them, and went through pains to educate myself about them and the laws when I was working in a public-facing retail position, but I'm not a professional or someone with personal experience. You may find more tailored help at Psych Dog Partners, which is a site specifically set up for helping PSD teams and providing resources. I've heard good things, and they have an experienced community to offer advice and support for specific issues surrounding psychiatric service dogs.
 

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If you can't find an ORG. I suggest owner training with help of a trainer. Choose one of the FAB four (Poodle, Labrador, Golden Retrivers, Smooth Collies) I do not reccomend herding breeds as service animals, so i might scratch Collie off your list unless you would reallyyyy like one. I always preach need before breed though. And make sure the breeder you choose breeds for service animal work- as it requires very solid temperment.

Not familiar with the laws in your state, so i can't comment there.

Owner training helps you in being able to shape your dog into exaclty what you need. A trainer can coach you in how to train, and even once the dog is "Fully trained" you can train it new tasks as your needs change as well.

I have a Service dog who is a Lab x Beagle (8/10 do not reccomend any beagle-ness XD) And a SDIT Standard Poodle.

Good luck on your journey!
 

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@Shiroyasha08
It can be difficult to find a pre-trainee dog. I have a Golden Retriever whose 1 year and he is a ESA animal still in training. We just moved and with Covid-19 it’s difficult to do certain things now but. Where I used to live I had it organized so that once he got to a good point in his training that he could go into hospitals, nursing homes, schools, senior living etc. and be an ESA animal for them. All of that to say it might be easier to get a dog and start the training yourself with a trainer certified to train ESA Animals. I did it with my Golden, also in these classes they teach you how to gain your dogs trust. As well as step by step guides in how to train them to your specific needs or the needs of the hospital in my case. So my Goldie Patriot is dealing with children and elderly people. He needs to learn how to gentle in his approaches to them. Like no mouthing, no barking, no running, no jumping on them or the bed. Your needs may be different, my dog is training as an ESA dog as well as a
Service animal. Tell you this for sure. You will have a better, stronger bond with your dog if you train yourself with the help of a certified trainer than you will if you just purchase one. Reason is they have been with you and worked with you since they can remember. My dog won’t even ride in a different car then me. He gets very protective if I or he feels threatened or are in an uncomfortable situation. I trust him to do what he’s trained to do and he trusts me to be able to handle him the way he should be handled.

Are you a first time dog owner? If so I would go for a lazier type of dog. Golden’s need at least 4 to 6 hours of exercise. They don’t have to be a lazier but I would just suggest getting one if you are a new dog owner because puppies and “teenaged” dogs can be a lot to handle if they need lots of exercise. Unless you think u are up for a challenge and trust me it can be a challenge. Every single one of my dogs I have ever had always have had a different personality, different food likes, toys they will and won’t play with. So sometimes it takes a little while to find out what your rambunctious puppy enjoys doing. I know a lot of different breeds that make a good ESA Animal but the decision is ultimately up to you whether you buy the pup and start the training or if you purchase one Pretrained.
 

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@lad20050620 Just a minor quibble, but when your dog is visiting others for therapeutic reasons, he's technically acting as a therapy dog, not an Emotional Support Animal (ESA). Of course, in your case, he's both! But legally, an animal can only be an ESA for its owner. I'm just clarifying because there is an unfortunate amount of misinformation out there where people think that therapy dogs - who are not also ESAs or SDs for their owners - have federally protected public access or housing rights. There's also no special training required for an ESA, but most therapy dogs have to go through training or at least pass some kind of screening before they'll be accepted by medical or care facilities.

A Canine Good Citizen is a really good early goal for a future SD, since it focuses on good manners in public and impulse control around people and other dogs.
 
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