Finding Your Perfect Dog If You Have PTSD: Breed Overview

Post traumatic stress disorder better known as PTSD, develops after a traumatic life experience. These traumatic life experiences can be sexual assault, war, loss of a loved one, being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and more. While there are numerous dog breeds out there that are great companions, there are specific ones that take the cake on helping their owners cope with PTSD.

Perfect Dogs for PTSD

All dogs will need to be trained one way or another. Be sure that you are positive about your decision, and you may just gain a new best friend during the training process.

Whether you’re looking for a trained service dog or a trusty pet companion, look no further than choosing from these favorites:

Big Dogs

  • Golden Retriever
  • Border Collie
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Standard Poodle

Small Dogs

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Pomeranian
  • Bichon Frise
  • Corgi

Golden Retrievers

Eager to please and easy to train, Goldens are a favorite among the therapy and service dog community. This affectionate breed is a born and bred retriever, it’s in their name after all. They can assist in fetching their owner’s medication, shoes, and more. They are very loyal companions that are very attentive of their owner’s emotions. Their larger size aids in physical support if their owners suffer from dizziness and fatigue too.

Border Collie

The rocket scientists of dog types, Border Collies are notably the smartest breed out there. They are a very determined and focused breed with strong work ethic. Because they have been bred to herd sheep, they can detect even the slightest changes in body language and act accordingly. This is a very active and energetic breed, so you will need to have them very well trained to direct their instinctual behaviors.

Doberman Pinscher

As intimidating as these dogs are they are very capable of being a great pet, service dog, therapy dog, and ESA. They’re a working breed that loves completing tasks. They are considered “velcro dogs” because they enjoy being close to their owners. Dobermans are intimidating size wise and rumor wise. By that I mean they get a bad rap due to their large muscular build and cropped ears. They are instinctively protective which makes them perfect for shielding their owners when they are having a seizure or episode in public and need a wall of protection. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, cause these dogs are amazing in the service dog industry.

Labrador Retriever

The biggest difference between Goldens and Labs are their coats. They are an amazing breed because they are high energy and very excitable but are still calm enough to perform all necessary tasks. It may seem confusing, but they really are a great breed if you want the best of both worlds. When thinking “Man’s best friend.” Labrador Retrievers come straight to mind. You will find them, goldens, and poodles at the top of most used breed for service dogs.

Standard Poodle

The largest of poodles, standard poodles are around 18-24 inches tall at the withers. They’re great for people with allergies because they don’t shed. Ever. They technically have hair instead of fur. Poodles are second to the border collie on smarts, and they learn based on observation and training. They’re very skilled at focusing on the job at hand and bond well with a family, as opposed to other breeds that are only loyal to one of their owners.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These smaller dogs are not only very sweet, but trainable, loving, and comforting too. They make perfect companion animals and are notably a great therapy dog. They provide comfort for many people in hospitals and shelters, making them a great breed to have for stressful situations. As with other small dogs, these pups are easier to handle than the bigger breeds. They’re very compassionate animals that are not afraid to show their owner how much they love and care about them.

Miniature Schnauzer

Obedient little old men with bushy mustaches. Mini Schnauzers are a fun-loving highly-trainable breed of small dog. They’re cheerful companions that will make you smile because of their goofy personality. This breed is good for people who are not very experienced with dog training. Because of their active personality, they would not make for great lap dogs. Instead they want to play, run, and dig all day.

Pomeranian

If you are looking for a small companion that will stay alert most of the time, then you will want a pomeranian. These small dogs are a fluff-ball of fun. They are perfect for travel in small carriers and purses. They have also been used as diabetic alert dogs, so don’t knock ‘em for only being froufrou purse dogs. They make wonderful family pets because they are outgoing and playful a lot of the time. Do beware that they are very confident in themselves and can suffer from “small dog syndrome”. This will need to be trained out of them before they challenge you and other big animals. Luckily, they enjoy training and love to learn.

Bichon Frise

Have you ever encountered a Bichon that isn’t friendly? They are one of the friendliest breeds out there. They love nothing more than being with their owner and goofing around. They will bring a smile to anyone’s face with their antics. Bichons are so friendly that they will push you out of your comfort zone to speak with others. They are an inspiring little dog that will aid you in building relationships with new people. Really, they make for great animals to have in small spaces if that is your lifestyle. Remember that they have a unique coat that will need to be maintained too. The grooming and upkeep will only bring about more bonding time with your pup, right?

Corgi

Happiness incarnate. Corgis are an even-tempered affectionate breed of dog. You will find that they make great therapy dogs due to their friendliness and obedience. They are a great size for owners in smaller houses and apartments because of their stubby legs and loaf-shaped body. They are a good mix of small but not too small. They were bred to be herders, but have since become great companions for people with disabilities. Particularly they are trained to help people who are hard of hearing or have diabetes. Their ears and wide smile will always light up the room.

Disclaimer

You probably came to this page because you have PTSD or are showing signs of having PTSD. These dogs will not “cure” or reverse your symptoms, but they may help you out of your comfort zone and engage you in a more interactive lifestyle. You may have noticed a recurring theme with a lot of these breeds being that they are all very friendly and loyal to their owners. If you’ve found that a dog is not the right route for you, then perhaps seeking help from functional medicine experts at a brain and body health center will help instead.

Dr. Spencer Zimmerman at Idaho Brain and Body Institute provides his patients with more personalized and in-depth healing treatments. If you are thinking you need more than a dog, then look into getting expert advice from Dr. Zimmerman on what kind of treatment is best for you.

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