VA Will Investigate Benefits of Service Dogs for Helping PTSD Victims
Published May 1, 2014
The Veterans Affairs Department is soon expected to trigger a study into the effectiveness and benefits of using service dogs for the treatment of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The study will most likely take off in the next few months. The study titled Can Service Dogs in Productivity and Quality of Life in Veterans with PTSD? and is expected to include more than 200 veterans. Approximately 50% of these veterans will be paired with a service dog that will be trained to address the person’s condition. The other veterans will be paired with support dogs that have been trained to obey the owner, but are not trained to help respond to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Basically, the investigators will try to determine whether a service dog has any impact on the quality of life of a veteran, compared to an ordinary dog that has not been trained to respond to symptoms of PTSD.
There are definitely very clear differences between trained dogs that help act as companions for persons with PTSD, or ordinary trained dogs. Dogs that have been physically trained to be companions for persons with PTSD are expensive, and cost more than $25,000. The law also allows them to accompany their handlers in public spaces. Depending on the outcome of the study, the Veterans Affairs Department could actually advise the use of such dogs as a treatment for symptoms of PTSD. The treatment could be covered by the Veterans Affairs Department
Simple support dogs, on the other hand, are obedience dogs that have been trained to be obedient and offer comfort. They are not allowed the same kind of public access that service dogs trained to respond to PTSD symptoms, enjoy.