Emotional Support Animal (ESA) – Training Programs, Information and Success Stories

Written on March 6, 2020

At Specialty Dog training we believe in harnessing a dog’s innate desire to work, their amazing love and devotion, and their intelligence.  Some dogs are suited to work as companion animals for their owners, providing comfort and support. These dogs are called “Emotional Support Animals (ESA)” or “Emotional Support Dogs”.

Emotional Support Animals are defined by the ADA as a dog or other animal that is not trained to perform specific tasks directly related to an individual’s disability. Instead, the animal’s owner derives a sense of well-being, safety, or calm from the animal’s companionship and presence.

Specialty Dog Training™ specializes in the evaluation, training and placement of Emotional Support Dogs.  We create a custom training program based on your dog’s initial evaluation which includes advanced obedience, house and public manners, relationship building, and preparation to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. Specialty Dog Training™ can also source and acquire a dog for you that has been professionally evaluated by our certified dog trainers if you do not have a dog already or if your current pet doesn’t pass the ESA assessment and evaluation.

Ryan & Pikachu

Our trained Emotional Support Dogs provide incredible support for their handlers!  Meet 15 year old, Ryan and his ESA “Pikachu”. Their story began when Ryan’s mom, Janean, reached out to Specialty Dog Training™ to find the perfect companion for her Ryan, who has autism.  When we rescued Pikachu, we knew he’d be an awesome match for Ryan! After approximately 12 weeks of advanced obedience training, Pikachu was ready to start lessons with Ryan and his Mom. We taught Ryan how to be a great handler (and best friend) for Pikachu, and Janean how to help reinforce good manners and obedience at home.  Upon passing the AKC Canine Good Citizen test, Ryan and Pikachu graduated our Emotional Support Animal Program and have been doing amazing things together ever since! Pikachu has even been granted special permission to attend school with Ryan!

Emotional Support Animals are provided access rights for housing under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and for air travel under the The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).  However, each airline has specific requirements for travel with ESA’s, so be sure to review airline guidelines prior to booking your travel.  ESA’s are not provided full public access rights by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as Service Dogs are.

ESA’s are amazing companions; but they may not be the right fit for everyone’s needs.  If you need specific tasks in order to alleviate symptoms of a physical or psychological disability, you may benefit instead from a task trained service dog.

Looking for a well-behaved family pet?  We also train and place pre-trained family pets! Let us help you find or train the perfect furry family member.  If you are seeking information on a Service Dog or Service Dog Training, visit the following page: https://specialtydogtraining.com/services/service-dog-training/