What Should I know Emotional Support Dogs?
Dogs can help relax and calm so, it’s no wonder that people suffering from anxiety and depression commonly use dogs as emotional support animals.
There is no training required for an emotional support dog, so any dog can be an emotional support animal (ESA) without any training. The main difference between an ESA and a service dog is that a service dog is trained to ground a person with a psychiatric disorder or does work or performs task to provide services to the owner. ESA animals simply provide comfort.
Rights and Protections:
Since emotional support animals are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they don’t have the same rights and protections as service animals. Since ESAs have not been trained to perform a specific job, they do not qualify as service animals under the law and can be denied entry into public places including restaurants and stores.
Emotional support dogs provide comfort, a calming presence and company. Emotional support dogs do not have access to all public areas, but there are two legal protections. First, they can fly with a person who has an emotional or psychological disability. Second, they can qualify for no-pet housing. A letter from a physician may be requested by housing authorities and airlines because the use of emotional support dogs has been abused by some over the years.
Characteristics to Look For:
Your emotional support dog should be devoted to you and responsive to your emotions and commands. The dog should also be calm and laid back. A rambunctious dog has the capability of becoming an emotional support dog, but it will require more training. It is recommended to look for a dog that is around one year old so you can build that relationship with him and have him be out of his curious puppy phase. However, puppies can be emotional support animals as well; they’ll just need to be a breed that is people-oriented like Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, Goldendoodle, and poodle.