How Can I Train My Dog for Emotional Support?

Training your dog to be an emotional support animal is a wonderful idea, but it takes patience, consistency, and determination. The right dog can make all the difference, so choosing a pup that works for you specifically is key. Positive reinforcement is also incredibly important to keep in mind when training your emotional support dog, as rewarding good behavior is the best way to ensure your pup stays focused and learns the commands you’re teaching.

Being consistent in this positive reinforcement is what will keep your dog on track in the long-run. That being said, you may run into some difficulties along the way, such as separation anxiety or aggression. Keeping a positive attitude and remaining consistent in your training will help you and your pooch get through these difficult times.

Choosing the Right Dog

When choosing the right dog to train as an emotional support animal, there are a few important things to consider. You should take into account the size of your home and lifestyle.

It’s important to select a breed of dog that is well suited to your particular environment. If your home is small, a smaller breed may be a better fit. Consider your activity level.

A breed that needs lots of exercise and stimulation may not be the best choice for someone who lives a sedentary lifestyle. You should consider the personality of the dog.

Look for one that is affectionate and loves to be around people. You want a dog that is eager to please and willing to learn.

It’s also important to select a breed that is not prone to aggression or anxiety. Some breeds, such as German Shepherds and Labradors, are more prone to these issues and may not make the best emotional support dogs. With the right dog, however, you can train them to provide emotional support with patience and consistency.

Training Tips

Training your dog for emotional support is no easy task. It requires a lot of patience and understanding from your part. It’s important to choose a dog that’s up to the task.

Dogs with a calm, submissive, and friendly disposition make better emotional support animals.

Once you have the right pup, it’s time to train them. Positive reinforcement is key when it comes to training your dog. Rewarding them with treats, love and attention when they do something right will help them understand what you want them to do.

Consistency is also very important; repeating the same commands over and over again will help your dog understand what they need to do. It’s also important to make sure you’re patient and understanding with your pup throughout the training process.

Training your dog for emotional support isn’t always going to be a smooth process. Some pups might have issues with separation anxiety, which you’ll need to work on in order to help them cope with being left alone.

Some dogs might be more prone to aggression, so it’s important to take the time to train them properly. With patience and understanding, you’re sure to be successful in training your pup for emotional support.

Positive Reinforcement

When it comes to training your dog for emotional support, positive reinforcement is key. Be sure to reward your pup with treats, praise, and play when they do something correctly. By doing so, you’re creating a positive association between their good behavior and the reward, making them more likely to do it again.

It’s also important to remain consistent with your commands and rewards. If you tell your pup to sit and they do, make sure you reward them right away to let them know they did a good job.

If you ignore them after sitting or don’t reward them at all, they won’t understand why you’re asking them to do something. That being said, don’t be too hard on yourself if your pup isn’t getting it right away.

Dogs learn at different paces and some commands can be particularly difficult for them to understand.

If you’re getting frustrated, take a break and come back to it later. You’ll have more success if you and your pup are both relaxed and feeling good.

Be aware of potential difficulties like separation anxiety and aggression. If your pup is having a hard time with either of these, it could be a sign that they’re overwhelmed and need some extra help. Taking them to a professional trainer or behaviorist is a great idea if you’re not sure how to handle it, and it could make all the difference in your pup’s emotional support training.


Consistency is key when training your dog for emotional support. It is important that you commit to a routine that is consistently positive and rewarding for your pup.

A good way to do this is to set aside specific times each day for training, praising your pup for their successes, and rewarding them for their progress. Positive reinforcement such as treats, praise and love will go a long way in motivating your pup to learn and grow. Make sure to be patient and consistent in your commands, as this will go a long way in teaching your pup that it is expected to follow your wishes.

Another key point to remember is that consistency applies not just to training, but also to regular daily activities. Make sure you take your pup out for regular walks, playtime and cuddle sessions to ensure that your pup is always feeling its best.

A happy pup is much more likely to be motivated to learn, and regular walks and playtime can help to reduce any stress or anxiety they may be feeling. Keep a consistent schedule for feeding and sleeping, as this will help to keep your pup healthy and feeling safe.

By implementing a consistent, positive training routine and daily schedule, you’ll be sure to have a happy, emotionally supportive pup in no time. With patience, consistency, and lots of love, your pup will be more than ready to offer emotional support in no time.

Potential Difficulties

Potential difficulties in training a dog for emotional support are common and should be addressed correctly. Separation anxiety is a common issue when dogs are left alone and can lead to destructive behaviors.

If you notice your dog exhibiting signs of anxiety when you are away, such as excessive barking or chewing on furniture, try increasing the amount of exercise it gets and decreasing time spent alone. Distracting activities, such as a Kong toy or puzzle feeder, can help to keep your dog occupied in a positive way. Aggression can also be an issue for some dogs.

If your dog exhibits aggressive behavior towards other animals or people, be sure to get it to the vet ASAP. Aggression can be caused by a variety of reasons, and a vet can identify the root cause and provide treatment options.

Keep in mind that training should be done in a safe and controlled environment, such as a pet-friendly park or your own backyard. Invite family and friends to help you with the training and make sure to provide lots of positive reinforcement to your pup every step of the way.

Separation Anxiety

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, it’s important to create an environment that feels safe and secure for your pup. Begin by giving your dog a designated area to rest and relax, such as a comfy dog bed with plenty of toys and treats. You can also provide your pup with a security blanket or chew toy to keep them occupied when you’re away.

When you leave the house, try to keep your exit low key and leisurely. You can also leave items with your scent, like an old t-shirt, that your pup can curl up with when you’re not around.

Don’t give your pup too much attention when you’re leaving as this can serve as a trigger. Be sure to give your dog plenty of exercise and mental stimulation during the day as this can help reduce anxiety. Make sure your pup has plenty of access to food and water during the day.


If your pup is displaying aggression, it’s important to get ahead of it as soon as possible. Aggression can be difficult to manage, but there are steps you can take to help your dog stay calm and remain in control. Working with a certified behaviorist or trainer can also help you develop strategies for dealing with your pup’s aggression.

Start by teaching your pup basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it.” When they obey your commands, reward them with praise and treats. When they don’t listen, remain calm and take the time to explain why their behavior is unacceptable.

If your pup shows any signs of aggression, use a firm voice and remove them from the situation.

When appropriate, dole out a time-out as a punishment. Above all, remain consistent.

Dogs respond better to consistency and repetition than they do to punishment. It may take some time, but your pup will start to understand the boundaries you are setting. With consistent, positive reinforcement, you’ll eventually be able to help your pup manage their aggression.

Megan Turner

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