Turn your dog into a psychiatric service Dog

We train dogs to be companions for people with mental impairments who find relief through their dogs.

These dogs work within the bond and relationship system and must be protected and spared from separation from humans as well as from negative experiences and trauma, in order to maintain their function for the person and to be able to fulfill their tasks.

Essential Requirement for Assistance Dog Training

The concept of PSD-USA and PSDeurope assumes that it is not possible to train a psychiatric service dog (PSD) like a normal working or service dog, independently of the dog owner.

What is the rationale behind this assumption?

A person with mental limitations is incomparable to others. There are almost never two or more people with the same limitation. A companion assistance dog (PSD) must therefore be trained on the individuality of the assigned person.

The assistance dog (PSD) forms a well-coordinated human/animal partner team with its human that only functions in togetherness and is based not on pressure or pure training, but on the bond and relationship of both.

These sensitive human-animal teams need particularly good cooperation, an ability to “read” each other in order to react to the smallest stimuli.

General standards for dog ownership cannot and will not work in the spectrum of psychiatric illness.

The Process

Trained psychotherapists with experience in animal-assisted work train the person

Dog trainers with extensive experience in training therapy and assistance dogs oversee the training guidelines for the dog, taking animal welfare regulations into account

Both the psychotherapist and the dog trainer accompany the human/dog team together until they reach their target goals.

The psychotherapist and animal trainer jointly certify the human/animal partner team.

Our Methods

We work according to the blended learning principle, tailored to the group of clients we serve.

We teach in a diverse, interactive, dynamic way and flexibly according to the symptoms of the impairments.

Especially since the times of Covid and the associated challenges, internet technology takes over the part of physical presence wherever possible.

We have also created a state-of-the-art e-learning platform to approach the topic of PSD training in general and comprehensively.

The creation of step-by-step videos, participation in coaching sessions, and where necessary and prescribed, live testings complement and complete the training concept.

Certification Requirements

  • Psychotherapeutic therapy session: PSD-USA will only allow individuals to undergo PSD training with their dog if the person demonstrably needs the dog to cope with daily life.
  • E-learning platform of PSD-USA and PSDeurope: PSD-USA will only perform a certification if the dog owner has successfully completed a specific e-learning course (16 chapters, 90 work areas).

  • Individual Tasklist: PSD-USA will only certify a human/dog partner team if clear, meaningful individual tasks of the dog for his human can be defined.

  • Basic Skills of the Dog: The educational basic abilities of a dog (basic skills) are specified, trained, and tested within the framework of the training. These basic skills are a prerequisite for PSD certification (for example, “Sit”, “Down”, “Stay”, “Come”, and similar).

  • Special Abilities of the Dog: PSD-USA expects the trained PSD human/animal teams to be able to move well and safely in different environments and situations (for example, “traveling”). Corresponding abilities are trained and tested.

  • Testing of Skills and Knowledge of Human + Dog: The certification of a PSD-USA human/animal partner team will only occur if it is clear that the defined minimum requirements have really been learned, are mastered, and are repeatable in both theoretical and practical areas.

Time Effort

In addition to the mentioned content requirements and skills, a timeframe for training and theoretical study must also be set and considered within the training. The minimum effort expected by PSD-USA is 150 hours over a period of at least 6 months, which you must plan for the training of your dog.