All poodle owners know that their dogs are wonderful, happy, and intelligent pets. It is these traits that make them good candidates to be emotional support dogs. There are many types of support animals that are trained for supportive roles, either as assistance for the impaired or as emotional support dogs, and poodles are ones that shine in this task.
What Is an Emotional Support Dog?
An Emotional Support Dog (ESD), or also known as a companion dog, is a pet that is prescribed by a licensed therapist, psychotherapist, or psychiatrist to give health support to someone who is troubled by an emotional or mental disability such as:
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- General Anxiety Disorder
- Post-Partum Depression
- Panic Disorder
- Impulse Control Disorder
- Phobias & Fears
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Tasks for Emotional Support Dogs
ESD’s pets are not trained to do specific tasks, unlike service dogs, but have an extremely important job of providing comfort and care to their owners in times of emotional or mental need.
Emotional support dogs have expanded rights compared to everyday pets as they have to be with their patients all of the time. They offer support and emotional comfort and stability to their owners who without them might have a compromised quality of life.
These poodles are not necessarily trained to do anything beyond being loving, and a close companion, but this type of emotional support is helpful when someone is struggling emotionally or mentally.
Emotional support dogs get to have certain liberties in this supporting capacity.
- By-pass no pet policies in housing
- Fly with their owners when on a plane
- They do both of these things for free
Why Do Poodles Make Good Emotional Support Dogs?
Poodles are one of the most intelligent and obedient dogs. Their eagerness to please their owners makes them easy to train and dependable. A poodle’s intellect lets them enjoy the mental challenges of being a support, and their athleticism means they love being busy and won’t feel overwhelmed. They also adapt easily to different situations, so focus on the person they are supporting remains constant.
Their good behavior, along with love of companionship, means they are great emotional support dogs who will work well for those they serve. Their calm and laid-back nature works well as an ESD as well as their responsive nature to you as an owner.
Training Your Poodle to be an Emotional Support Dog
ESDs do not need extensive training that service dogs do. However, having them learn some specific techniques will help them help you. One of those is deep pressure therapy. This process is said to help calm those who have anxiety, autism, self-harming behavior, and stress.
You train your poodle to apply pressure to your body, legs, or arms to help calm you. Toy poodles can lie across your chest and miniatures or standards can learn to place their heads or feet on your lap, of legs, to help ease whatever issue has arisen.
With the use of treats, you can teach them “paws up” and “paws down” as a means of supporting whatever emotional problem is happening. They will learn when to interact with you as an ESD.
Treats such as Zukes Mini Naturals Peanut Butter Treats are helpful in getting them eager to participate and to learn what is asked of them.
Along with specific training, your poodle has to have basic manners and be well behaved if they are to be allowed special housing and airline privileges. That means they are housetrained, leash trained, no jumping up, no aggressive behavior, no begging for food, etc. To accomplish all of this, you will need to:
- Set aside a regular time each day to train for basic manners and emotional support
- Keep sessions interesting and short
- Consistency – Each time you work with your poodle, correct them for things they do wrong and given lots of praise for what they do right
- Keep things basic – Teach one thing at a time, so it’s not confusing
- Praise is critical! Your dog wants to please you, so when they do things right give them lots of love
- Never, ever use physical punishment – use the word NO to correct the wrong behavior but never be mean or aggressive
- Don’t start too early. Wait to your pup is old enough to have the basic manners learned then move on to Emotional Support training
Items to Help with Basic Training & Travel
Once your poodle is ready for training as an emotional support dog, you will have to make sure you have the proper items for when you are out in the neighborhood as well as traveling afar.
If you are going farther than your local store, then you will need to make sure you have items to keep your dog happy and helpful on your trip. If they are to support you, then they need to be undistracted. Items for both car and flight safety and comfort are important. Bring:
Comfort and safety should be the goal for both your poodle and you. Making sure they are well mannered is an important part of them being able to retain the privileges offered to an emotional support dog.
Poodles are great pets but even greater friends to their owners who struggle with emotional and mental issues. Their willingness to learn and take care of their owners is inherent, and they are one of the best breeds to take on the role of an emotional support dog.
With proper training, your poodle can be a great help in navigating a stressful world. Their ability to move beyond basic training increases their value as emotional support. Taking the proper time to train them will mean you will have a faithful and helpful emotional support dog to help you through the rough times.