Where to Get a Trained Emotional Support Dog

Where to Get a Trained Emotional Support Dog

Emotional support animals (ESAs) play a crucial role in providing comfort, companionship, and therapeutic benefits to individuals dealing with emotional or psychological conditions. If you’re considering getting a trained emotional support dog, it’s important to find a reliable source that can provide you with a well-trained and certified animal. Here are a few options to consider:

1. Certified Trainers: One of the best ways to acquire a trained emotional support dog is through certified trainers. These professionals specialize in training dogs to assist individuals with emotional needs. They can assess your requirements and match you with a suitable canine companion.

2. Nonprofit Organizations: Numerous nonprofit organizations are dedicated to training and providing emotional support dogs. These organizations often have a thorough screening process to ensure that dogs are well-trained and suitable for emotional support work.

3. Animal Shelters: Some animal shelters offer trained emotional support dogs for adoption. These dogs have typically undergone basic training and have been evaluated for their temperament and compatibility with emotional support work.

4. Breeders: While it may be more challenging to find trained emotional support dogs directly from breeders, it is still possible. Some breeders specialize in training dogs for specific purposes, including emotional support work. Ensure that the breeder has a good reputation and provides proper training and certification for their dogs.

5. Assistance Dog Programs: Some programs train and provide assistance dogs that can serve as emotional support animals. These programs often have rigorous training standards and can match you with a dog that suits your specific emotional needs.

6. Online Resources: Several online platforms connect individuals with trained emotional support dogs. These websites allow you to search for available dogs based on your location and specific requirements. However, it’s essential to thoroughly research the platforms and ensure they have a reliable screening process.

7. Mental Health Professionals: Mental health professionals, such as therapists or psychiatrists, can provide recommendations and guidance on where to find a trained emotional support dog. They often have contacts within the field and can refer you to reputable sources.

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8. Support Groups or Forums: Joining support groups or online forums related to emotional support animals can provide valuable insights and recommendations from individuals who have gone through the process of obtaining a trained emotional support dog. They can share their experiences and suggest reliable sources.

9. Referral from Supportive Organizations: Organizations that offer support to individuals with emotional or psychological conditions may have resources or referrals for trained emotional support dogs. Reach out to these organizations to see if they can assist you in finding a reliable source.

10. Local Trainers: Local dog trainers who specialize in behavior modification and obedience training may also have experience training dogs for emotional support work. They can provide guidance or refer you to reputable sources.

11. Word of Mouth: Sometimes, word of mouth can lead you to the right place. Talk to friends, family, or acquaintances who have obtained a trained emotional support dog and ask for recommendations.


1. What is the difference between a trained emotional support dog and a service dog?
A trained emotional support dog provides comfort and emotional support to individuals with psychological conditions, while a service dog is trained to perform specific tasks to assist individuals with disabilities.

2. How can I ensure that the dog I get is well-trained for emotional support work?
It is crucial to obtain a trained emotional support dog from a reliable source that follows proper training and certification standards.

3. Are there specific breeds that are better suited for emotional support work?
No, any breed can be trained to become an emotional support dog. The most important factors are temperament, training, and compatibility with the individual’s needs.

4. Are emotional support dogs required to be certified?
While certification is not legally required for emotional support dogs, it is recommended to ensure that the dog has undergone proper training and evaluation.

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5. Can I train my own emotional support dog?
Yes, it is possible to train your own emotional support dog, but it requires time, dedication, and knowledge of proper training techniques.

6. How much does a trained emotional support dog cost?
The cost of a trained emotional support dog can vary depending on the source, training program, and breed. It is important to research and budget accordingly.

7. Can I get a trained emotional support dog if I live in an apartment?
Yes, emotional support dogs can live in apartments, as they are protected under the Fair Housing Act. However, it is essential to check with your specific apartment complex for any additional requirements or restrictions.

8. Can I bring my emotional support dog on an airplane?
Under the Air Carrier Access Act, emotional support dogs are allowed to accompany their owners in the cabin of an airplane. However, specific requirements and documentation may vary between airlines.

9. How long does it take to get a trained emotional support dog?
The time it takes to obtain a trained emotional support dog can vary depending on the source and waiting lists. It is important to be patient and plan accordingly.

10. Can an emotional support dog help with my anxiety or depression?
Yes, emotional support dogs are trained to provide comfort and support to individuals with anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions.

11. What is the difference between an emotional support dog and a therapy dog?
An emotional support dog provides support to an individual owner, while a therapy dog is trained to provide comfort and support to multiple people in various settings such as hospitals or nursing homes.

In conclusion, finding a trained emotional support dog requires careful consideration and research. Whether through certified trainers, nonprofit organizations, or other reliable sources, it is important to ensure that the dog is well-trained, certified, and suitable for your specific emotional needs.

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