How to Train a Dog to help with panic attacks?
Long time ago, the time was lot simpler when humans were just focused on getting food on the table and caring for their loved ones. As technology took over, the human race became more and more advanced and competitive.
This high competition of competing with each other and living a more lavish life introduced a new set of problems for human beings — problems of mental diseases like depression, anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, etc.
We, humans, needed something to get rid of these problems, so we invented medications to cure them. But what if we can detect them early and do not let them happen? This is possible with the help of other living being known as Panic attack alert Dog.
What is this article about?
This article is all about how to train a dog to help with panic attacks? we are going to talk about an extraordinary kind of psychiatric service dog, known as Panic attack alert dog. We will discuss how to train them, and things to consider before and after the training.
What is a Panic Attack?
A panic attack is a mental condition where a person feels terrified and unstable without any warning or a specific reason. When the patient suffers from a panic attack, he/she can feel shivers in their body; they feel like they are having a stroke.
Symptoms and Cure
Many symptoms occur before the real attack strikes.
- Swift racing heartbeat.
- Intense sweating.
- Difficulty in breathing.
- Low Temperature of body.
There are several anti-depressants like Benzodiazepines and other, SSRI’s, that can calm down a patient and reduce the effects of the attack.
But there is no other way to detect if a panic attack is going to strike a patient before the symptoms. Well, there is a way, and that is by accompanying a Panic attack alert dog.
Psychiatric Service Dogs
Dogs have a thousand times powerful smelling sense than humans. With these smelling powers, dogs can detect biological changes happening inside our bodies. Psychiatric Service Dogs are trained to identify the symptoms of a particular mental condition.
For example, a person is suffering from panic attacks; the dog can be trained to detect symptoms before the patient realizes them. The dog will alert the patient so that he can get ready for the attack or contact someone.
Panic attack Alert Dog:
Panic attack alert dogs belong to a particular category of Psychiatric Service Dogs. Panic attack alert dogs are trained to detect and alert the patient suffering from the issue of panic attacks.
There are specific symptoms that the dog can detect and then alert the patient about the attack.
Are Panic attack alert dogs useful?
After the warning, the patient becomes more careful and try to avoid the situations which lead to the attack. The patient can also call his close ones or any guardian to take care of the situation.
Things to consider before training:
Specific things to consider before starting the training of the dog:
- The dog must be in perfect health and fit for the training.
- The dog must not have any medical conditions like disease or allergy.
- There should be a strong bond and a good relationship between the dog and the patient.
- The dog must be motivated and happy towards training.
- Prepare or buy some healthy food that the dog likes to give as a reward during training.
How to train a dog to detect Panic attacks?
There is a straightforward way to train the dog to detect and alert for any panic attack and answer the question how to train a dog to help with panic attacks.
Teach the symptoms to the dog:
- In this step, the trainer needs to teach the dog what are the symptoms of panic attacks.
- To teach the dog, take one symptom like scratching face regularly, sweating, unable to walk correctly, etc. Let’s take scratching the face symptom.
- Teach your dog to react to a particular symptom.
- Scratch your face, and when the dog observes you doing that, give him a treat.
- Practice this exercise with your dog daily for some time.
- When the dog starts to observe, the scratching symptom moves on to the next step.
Teach the dog how to alert:
- Until now, the dog only observes and detects the symptom.
- It’s time to teach the dog how to react to that symptom.
- Think of a creative alert for the dog.
- Pawing the patient’s knee, barking loudly, doing weird movements, making a circle around the patient, are the best examples for the alert.
- Teach the dog to perform the alert whenever he observes the symptom of a panic attack.
- When the dog alerts, reward them.
- If the dog alerts unnecessarily, ignore him and don’t reward them.
- Perform this activity with the dog daily until the dog becomes a pro in detecting, observing and alerting the patient about the attack.
Duration of Training:
The trainer needs to train the dog consistently every day for at least one to two hours. With this speed, it can take up to one year or so to make the dog perfect in detecting and alerting about the symptoms.
Professional training, in which the dog is trained by professional dog trainers, can take up to a few months to train the dog.
But in professional training, the bond and relationship between the patient and the dog is disrupted. Also, the cost of professional training is very high.
Things to consider during training:
- If the dog is showing signs of depression and sadness while training, he should be immediately discarded from the preparation.
- The trainer should have a lot of patience for this training.
- The trainer should not hurt or harm the dog in any physical or mental way.
- The training should be of short periods.
- Replace the reward of food with a lot of praise and love because more food can make the dog fat and obese.
Q. What is the primary criteria for the dog to be trained for panic attack detection?
Ans. There are no strict criteria, but the dog should have some essential characteristics like:
- The dog should have basic training.
- The dog should obey simple commands like sit, stand, fetch, and stay.
- The dog should be calm and not aggressive.
- The dog should be social and friendly with other people also.
Q. Can I take my panic attack alert dog everywhere?
Ans. To take your panic attack alert dog to public places, the dog needs to get certified by a proper certification providing organization or company.
After the certification, it is proved that the dog is well trained and is not harmful to other people in any way.
Q. When to stop the training?
Ans. When the dog starts to detect the symptoms and alert the patient on its own without training, it’s time to stop the training.
Training can also be stopped when the dog is showing signs of sadness, depression or any other medical condition.
If you want to know more about panic attack alert dogs, refer these videos.
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