PTSD Service Dogs

Providing Support and Comfort

ptsd service dog in training

A Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Service Dog can provide reassurance to individuals who have to live with the effects of PTSD in their daily lives. These incredible service dogs are a calming influence on their handler, offering incredible strength and support by performing trained tasks consistently and reliably.

PTSD can cause individuals to have negative thoughts and feelings relating to their traumatic experience. These can manifest themselves in a number of ways. An individual with PTSD might suffer from nightmares or constantly relive the event; they may have feelings of resentment, anger, betrayal or sadness; or they might feel depression or guilt.

A PTSD Service Dog can become a companion of comfort for individuals diagnosed with PTSD. The calm disposition of a fully-trained service dog can help to provide numerous benefits. For example, they can be trained to disrupt nightmares during the night. Deep pressure therapy (DPT) can help to mitigate emotional overloads or panic attacks. PTSD Service Dogs can even be trained to retrieve medicine from a specific location if necessary.

At Highland Canine Service Dogs, our team is purely focused on providing you with the solutions you need to improve your quality of life. Our skilled trainers aren’t just great service dog trainers – they take the time to understand your life circumstances, and why a PTSD Service Dog will bring comfort and benefit to you.

Note: Our PTSD Service Dogs are for individuals who have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, whereby PTSD has a significant and detrimental impact on quality of life. Our PTSD Service Dogs are not designed to provide emotional support, or as a coping mechanism for someone who may be suffering with depression.

The Benefits of a PTSD Service Dog

There are numerous benefits of owning a PTSD Service Dog. These highly-trained dogs can be trained to perform a number of useful tasks that can make life easier for anyone suffering with PTSD.

Some advantages of having a PTSD Service Dog include:

Comfort & Reassurance

A PTSD Service Dog can provide comfort and reassurance to an individual with PTSD. The handler knows that whenever their PTSD manifests itself - whether as a panic attack, a nightmare, or if they require medication - their PTSD Service Dog will be immediately on-hand to help. This offers unique peace of mind.

Sleep Improvement

Individuals with PTSD frequently suffer from nightmares, night terrors and other issues related to sleeping. A PTSD Service Dog can be trained interrupt a nightmare by waking their handler and disrupting the horrors of the nightmare.


Dogs have been proven to be loyal, faithful and trusted companions in a variety of settings. That is never truer than when helping an individual with PTSD. Just the mere presence of their service dog - whether at home, out in public, or faced with a situation that could trigger and cause stress - provides incredible friendship and a permanent presence at their handler’s side.

Quality of Life

In general, a PTSD Service Dog contributes to an improved quality of life for their handler. The tasks that a PTSD Service Dog can be trained to perform are fully customized to the needs of the individual. This flexibility offers unparalleled support for the dog’s handler and can boost independence and confidence.

Tasks & Training

A PTSD Service Dog can be trained to complete many vital tasks which improve the quality of life for their handler. 

Each trained task is chosen on the specific needs of the handler. The task(s) will be determined during our initial consultations. Our teams has years of experience when it comes to ensuring our service dogs perform their tasks reliably.

Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT)

When an individual suffers from a panic attack, it can be very difficult for them to control their emotions. A PTSD Service Dog can be trained to place their body upon their handler, offering deep pressure and helping to relieve the stress. This helps to mitigate any situations where an individual diagnosed with PTSD may be overwhelmed or anxious.

Item Retrieval

There are various medications that are prescribed to help individuals deal with the symptoms of their PTSD. A PTSD Service Dog can be trained to help retrieve these items and bring them to their handler. In cases of memory fog brought about by PTSD where an individual may forget where they have left an important or valuable object (such as car keys or a wallet), a PTSD Service Dog can be trained to locate these items in the home.

ptsd service dog tactile stimulation

Tactile Stimulation

In instances where a person may be experiencing nightmares or be suffering from a panic attack, the mere act of touch (with paws or nose) from a dog can help to alleviate these issues. This can awaken the PTSD sufferer to end a nightmare, or help to redirect or refocus the individual’s attention during anxiety attacks.

About PTSD

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is a psychiatric disorder which affects individuals who witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. 

PTSD is more common than you might expect. Last year, 3.6% of adults in the United States suffered from it. It commonly occurs in individuals who have experienced a traumatic event – whether it was an event that directly impacted them, a situation they were a witness to, or learning about a terrible event that happened to a friend or family member.

Warzones, natural disasters, serious injuries, the loss of a loved one, and numerous other factors can cause the onset of PTSD. However, as we all process trauma in different ways, it is impossible to know whether or not an individual is more or less susceptible to suffering from it – until it happens. At that stage, various behavioral, medical and psychological treatments are available to help manage the disorder. A PTSD Service Dog is just another tool in the armory to help combat the effects of PTSD.

doodle service dog in training out in public

PTSD Statistics

Our Training Process

Our team has years of experience when it comes to training service dogs. We’re experts at every stage of the process – find out how we can help you.

highland canine training team with service dog delivery

At Highland Canine Service Dogs, we have developed proven processes for training reliable, effective service dogs. This comprehensive process begins at the puppy selection phase; continues during socialization and task training; and concludes when we deliver the service dog to its eventual handler.

We work with you every step of the way. Our priority is you, and making your life better. Our experienced team of service dog trainers works with empathy, focused entirely on your needs. From our very first conversation, we’ll be working alongside you to ensure that your PTSD service dog is trained specifically for your precise needs.

After puppy selection, a significant portion of our early training works on environmental stability and socialization. We take our service dog puppies to a number of different public places to make sure they have familiarity with a range of environments, people and places. This lays the groundwork for the tasks we will train them to perform.

During our conversation, we’ll work with you to identify which tasks will be relevant and of most benefit for your individual circumstances. PTSD affects a significant proportion of the population, but it is only you living in your body and experiencing the exact effects. Your PTSD service dog will be trained to perform the tasks that will benefit you the most – from tactile stimulation to waking you up if you’re having a nightmare.

service dogs in training

If you are interested in learning more about a PTSD Service Dog, contact us today!