Assistance Dog for PTSD Case Study: Dobbie

Assistance Dog for PTSD Case Study: Dobbie

Assistance dogs have long been recognised as valuable companions for individuals with physical disabilities, however, their ability to also aid those struggling with mental health conditions, like PTSD and C-PTSD is becoming more and more widely studied and recognised. These highly trained animals offer a sense of security, companionship, and emotional support to those living with PTSD and C-PTSD, helping them to manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. In this case study, we have the pleasure of meeting Dobbie, a service dog trained by Adolescent Dogs, who has made a significant impact on the life of his human companion.

The amazing team at Adolescent Dogs had the privilege of working with Dobbie, a 6-month-old Labrador, during his 8-week residential stay with them. Dobbie went to Adolescent Dogs with the goal of becoming an assistance dog for his owner living with PTSD.

Over the course of 8 weeks, they dedicated their time to teaching Dobbie the skills he needs to pass a public access test, as well as essential tasks to support his owner’s PTSD. One of the main tasks they worked on was teaching Dobbie how to interrupt PTSD attacks, which he accomplished by learning to lick his handler’s face and hands. This was a challenging task for Dobbie as he had a tendency to use his teeth, so it was a huge achievement for him to learn this skill.

They also focused on improving Dobbie’s impulse control, enabling him to sit or be under his owner’s legs for long periods of time without moving. This allows his owner to not worry about what he is doing while at work or on the train. He can also hold these positions in very busy areas and around both people and dogs. Additionally, Dobbie now has a great understanding of all the core obedience cues and can respond reliably in a variety of busy environments.

We are so proud of everything that Dobbie has accomplished during his stay with Adolescent Dogs and we can’t wait to see the positive impact he will make in his owner’s life. If you would like to learn more about our Assistance Dog Training Program with Adolescent Dogs (including owner self-training), please visit their website here (please note, as an affiliate charity, Adolescent Dogs make a donation of 20% of the course fees to PTSD UK for everyone who signs up to their owner training course through this link)

It’s important to note that there is no specific test, or ‘exam’ that dogs need to undertake to be qualified as an Assistance Dog to authorise them access to public areas. There are a number of organisations that offer ‘public access tests’ or tests to be a ‘registered Assistance Dog’ however, these are not required to have a dog be considered an Assistance Dog (but they can help if you’re challenged!). Assistance dogs are not pets and are treated as ‘auxiliary aids which help mitigate a disability’ which, based on the Equality Act 2010 states they have certain access rights. You can find out more about your rights with an Assistance Dog from the Equality and Human Rights Commission here.

Find out more about Assistance Dogs and how they can help people with PTSD and C-PTSD here

If you’ve got a dog who helps support you, why not sign up to our next PTSD UK Wagathon in August!!

This new annual challenge is set to be huge with fundraisers across the UK challenging themselves and their pooches to complete a 9K walk during the August Bank Holiday Weekend – all whilst wearing their new PTSD UK dog bandana of course! Find out more, and sign up to the PTSD UK Wagathon here.

  • This case study came from Adolescent Dogs. 

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