Training your Emotional Support Animal

Training your Emotional Support Animal

For ESA’s there is no official training. The training of the ESA is the sole responsibility of the owner. Formal training is not required but encouraged so the animal is trained to respond appropriately in a variety of situations. Training keeps the animal safe, the owner safe and most importantly those around them safe, whether they are walking with their human companion, at the dog park or in their own backyard.

A prerequisite for any Emotional Support Animal is training. The ESA should know the following 7 basic commends:

·         Sit

·         Lay

·         Stay

·         Come

·         Heel

·         Off

·         No/Leave It

Using several 10-15-minute practice sessions per day, most animals can master these core skills in just a week or two.  Kibble or treats “sweeten” the training by helping to reinforce the behavior. By mastering these simple commands, it paves the way for more complicated tasks. These simple commands help protect your dog from danger, running into the street and you are able to maintain control of your animal in any situation. Most dogs are devoted to their owners and want to please the owner which makes training easier. This is also what makes them great Emotional Support Animals.

If your therapist has recommended an ESA as part of your therapy, look for an animal around a year old with a calm/laid back personality. If you do not already own a dog, when looking for an animal here are some things to consider: some dogs are too boisterous, others are too timid, and that you must make a connection with the animal. Not every animal is the “perfect” animal for you.   

Certifying your animal as an ESA

Only licensed mental health professionals can prescribe an ESA. It is a simple process, just go to www.GetYourPetCertified.org, fill out the questionnaire, choose the type of certification you desire, whether it is travel or housing or both, and our mental health professionals will evaluate your situation and provide the necessary documentation requested. 

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