The sunny Golden State of California is known for its beautiful Pacific Coast beaches and its Hollywood magic. The state is also home to almost 40 million people. According to the California Health Care Foundation, one of the most common health conditions identified in California residents is mental health disorders. 1 in 6 adults experiences some psychiatric disorder. 1 in 24 adults in California even has a severe mental health issue significant enough to impair their day-to-day activities. A psychiatric service dog may be a valuable component of their treatment plan for adults who have a mental health disorder. 

If you are interested in a Psychiatric Service Dog Letter, we can connect you with a licensed healthcare provider. Click below to get started.

PSD Letter - Get Started - ESA Doctors

What is a Psychiatric Service Dog? 

A service dog may look like a regular canine, but it is not a pet. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service dog is a canine which receives training to perform a task(s) that relates directly to their handler’s disability. This task is often an activity that a person with a disability needs to engage in their daily lives or maintain their safety. 

A service dog is a vital part of their handler’s treatment for their disability. Service dogs are essential for the health and welfare of their handlers; therefore, they are protected under federal law. Allowed in areas where pets are not typically allowed, service dogs may accompany their owners anywhere the public is allowed. 

A psychiatric service dog (PSD) falls under the service dog umbrella. Psychiatric service dogs receive extensive training to help people with mental or emotional conditions. The following are some examples of tasks that a psychiatric service dog may perform: 

  • Flip on light switches for people who have a fear of the dark or experience post-traumatic stress disorder. 
  • Provide gentle pressure by leaning against their handler to reduce feelings of anxiety or deter panic attacks. 
  • Perform a sweep of an area prior to their handler’s entrance for people with PTSD. 
Psychiatric Service Dog Tasks Examples - Infographic - ESADoctors

Psychiatric service dogs need months of training to perform the tasks required. A potential handler needs to ensure that their PSD is the right dog for the job and arrange for the appropriate training. There are three ways to obtain a psychiatric service dog: 

  1. Find a dog and self-train to perform the desired tasks. 
  2. FInd a dog and self-train to perform basic tasks and outsource other training. 
  3. Purchase a fully-trained psychiatric service dog. 

Adopting a Psychiatric Service Dog in California 

When looking for a potential psychiatric service dog, it’s important to look for qualities you need in a service dog — which may not be the same qualities you would choose for a pet. Finding the right size and breed for the task and calm temperament and high intelligence might take a bit of searching. But the right dog will lead to better results. 

Animal Shelters to Find a Psychiatric Service Dog

The following are a few animal shelters and trainers in California that can assist you in your search. 

CA PSD shelter - Tri-City Animal Shelter

Tri-City Animal Shelter

The Tri-City Animal Shelter is managed by Fremont’s Animal Services Unit division of their police department. The shelter rescues about one thousand canines each year, fosters the dogs to ensure adoptability, to find them their new forever homes. 

CA PSD shelter - Dogs Without Borders

Dogs Without Borders

If you’re looking for a small-breed psychiatric service dog, you may want to contact the Los Angeles-based Dogs Without Borders program. This foster-based rescue shelter saves small breed dogs from shelters around the LA area, along with international rescue partners. 

San Diego Service Dogs

San Diego Service Dogs will help train the dog you adopt to meet your own needs. Specializing in psychiatric service dog training, the education involves the handler and mixes virtual and in-person sessions. By training with their service dog, handlers learn positive reinforcement and customize the training to fit their needs. 

See if you qualify for a psychiatric service dog letter.

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Purchase Trained Psychiatric Service Dogs

Training a dog on your own is not always feasible. In these cases, you can find a trained psychiatric service dog for you at one of the following facilities: 

Service Dog School of America

Superdog’s Service Dog School of America, located in the SanFrancisco Bay Area of Northern California, offers fully trained psychiatric service dogs for sale. They offer specially trained service dogs for anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health conditions. Service Dog School of America’s canines all receive Public Access and off-leash training. 

CA PSD shelter - Canine Guardians

Canine Guardians Assistance Dogs

If you’re a veteran or first responder looking for a psychiatric service dog, Canine Guardians Assistance Dogs may have what you need. Located in Napa, Canine Guardians raises, trains, and places psychiatric service dogs with veterans, children, and first responders who have PTSD — at no cost.

Your Psychiatric Service Dog in California

Before you begin your journey to get a psychiatric service dog, make sure you meet with a licensed mental health professional to discuss how a psychiatric service dog can help with your disability. You may inquire about a PSD letter as documentation that your mental health condition does qualify for a PSD. A psychiatric service dog might just make the California sun a little brighter.

How to Get your Psychiatric Service Dog Letter in California from ESA Doctors:

Three easy steps to get a PSD Letter - ESA Doctors
Get a PSD Letter - Button - ESA Doctors