A Quick Guide to Getting Your Emotional Support Animal Certified

Studies conducted on pet owners indicates that 74% of those surveyed report having mental health improvements from keeping animals as companions. Emotional support or service dogs are known to offer their disabled owners with much-needed support, including affection, companion, comfort, and security to live a stress-free life. These are essentially therapy dogs under required training to become an ESA dog.

The Thin Line Between ESA and Service Animal Training

There is a distinct difference between ESA dog training and service animal training. Typically, emotional support animals don’t require any form of training to carry out their companion role. However, service animal training is particularly necessary for therapy dogs that offer more than just companion or comfort.

Generally, service animals are subjected to rigorous training sessions to help develop essential skills that can assist a disabled person manage their conditions properly by performing specific tasks for them. Unlike ESA, service dogs are not considered as pets but rather companion animals. But still, you can choose to train your ESA to become a support therapy dog.

Primary functions of service animals to a person include:

  • Mental illness such as PSTD
  • Seizures
  • Diabetes
  • Visual impairment
  • Mobility impairment
  • Hearing impairment

How to Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

Getting an ESA involves a series of psychological tests by a mental health professional. The therapist will have to determine and verify your disability, and decide whether having an ESA will help manage the condition or not. Once you get an emotional support dog letter, considered required training for your dog.

While ESA dogs don’t have to be trained like therapy service dogs, some essential qualities can help your dog be more calm and well-behaved. Some of the suggested training for ESA includes:

  • Eating schedules
  • Basic commands such as “sit”, “down” and “stay”
  • Toilet required training
  • Dog time
  • Calmness

Typically, it takes about two years for a dog to fully learn complex routines and commands, though within a few weeks your dog will be able to respond to some basic commands. To ensure lifelong habits, start training your dog while still young and make dog training part of your daily activity. This makes it easy for dogs to relate with strangers and other animals, and quickly adjust to new surroundings. Besides, training your dog also stimulate its mind and helps create a good relationship between you two.

Benefits of ESA Dog Letter

After having your ESA application approved, there are a number of benefits you’re allowed to enjoy including:

  • Allowed to access buildings or rent an apartment with a no-pet policy. In fact, most pet-friendly housing charges a separate pet deposit. The average pet deposit is between 40% and 85% of the rent
  • Free from pet deposits and other pet fees
  • Flight travel with your ESA

Trained or untrained emotional support animals can help manage a range of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and some of the post-traumatic stress disorders. Get an ESA dog letter and enjoy lifetime companionship with your dog even in dog-restricted areas.