If you have anxiety, you can get an ESA prescription from a licensed health care professional that will designate your pet as an emotional support animal. However, there is a difference between emotional support animals and service animals (dogs).
Emotional support animals don’t undergo training to perform specific tasks; they reduce anxiety symptoms only with their therapeutic presence.
If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you may train your dog to become a service dog and perform various tasks, helping you cope with your illness. Service dogs for anxiety can help by anticipating your anxiety or panic attack, bring you medications, or provide a sense of calm through tactile stimulation.
You can either adopt an already trained dog or have your own dog trained.
To become a therapy dog, a dog needs to undergo training to acquire good manners, social skills and learn to perform specific tasks. Because all of this training involved, a service dog for anxiety can cost a lot, usually between $15,000 and $30,000 per trained dog. Some dogs can even cost up to $50,000, depending on their tasks.
But suppose your service dog is to provide emotional comfort when you experience anxiety. In that case, the training cost may be lower as intensive training (necessary for service dogs for physical disabilities) is not required.
If you decide to train your own dog, you can expect to pay anywhere between $150 to $250 an hour for a professional dog trainer. Or you can use training programs and service dog certifications available online. However, service dog experts agree that it is best to leave the training to the professionals.