Are You Ready?

Training your own Service Dog can be stressful. Before applying to the AVSDA training program, please take some time to consider your wellness and where you are in your treatment plan.

Thoughts to Consider

Drew Sanders, AVSDA Board President, LCPC, Major, USMC-Ret

It is important to note: 

In the AVSDA training program you do not receive a fully trained dog, ready to come to your aid when needed. Instead, you are your own dog's trainer. Though the goal in training your own service dog for PTS is to help you regulate and reduce symptoms, it is important to know adding a new family member, especially a young, still-learning-canine one, can increase the very stress the dog is intended to help reduce. 

Spending some time taking an honest inventory of how you feel, and weighing the pros and cons of training your own service dog, can help guide your decision. So can frank, honest discussions with your mental health professionals and your family members, who can help you determine whether you are ready to apply to AVSDA. 

Some important, possibly stress-inducing, considerations include:

While it is unlikely you will experience all of the stressors mentioned, there's a likelihood you will experience at least some of them at some time while training your service dog, and even afterward when you have completed this program. 

And yet...

Many of the stressors listed above, when viewed differently, can come into light as your new "mission" to overcome with your canine battle-buddy!