An ESA can provide a great amount of psychological and emotional support to its owner. This is a general benefit of keeping an affectionate, cuddly, and loyal animal as a pet. However, ESAs be it an ESA dog, an ESA fish, an ESA cat, etc are also specifically used to provide emotional stability and strength to mentally and emotionally disturbed people. The emotional stability provided by the ESAs is used by the health care providers as a part of treatment for mental illnesses. They prescribe ESAs to mentally and emotionally suffering patients using an emotional support animal letter. This is done once a patient having some mental issues asks for their opinion on their mental health.
Sometimes people also ask a therapist or a professional to recommend them an ESA. However, the healthcare professional only does so after a thorough and keen examination of the mental health condition of the applicant for a specified period. This time period must not be less than six months according to the laws of ESAs.
After the doctor recommends the ESA, then it is up to the patient to choose whatever animal he or she wishes to keep as an ESA. Once an animal has been specified to be an ESA, some special training steps can be taken to make it more competitive as an ESA. Although an ESA has just to give emotional support to the owner and does not need to perform any specific activity. However, to enhance the emotional supportive capabilities of the ESA, the steps that can be taken are explored in this article.
Before getting into the details of the training steps, let us take a moment and get to know the basic two rights of an ESA. An ESA has two basic rights which can not be denied by anyone either a person or an organization.
The first and foremost right provisioned under the fair housing society act is that the owner can keep the ESA with him/ her in his residential apartment, room, house, even if the landlord denies this, or asks for the additional rent, even then the owner does not need to be afraid of the landlord. The on;y requirement is to have a legit esa letter for housing.
Additionally, under the second federal law, the fair access carrier act, the ESAs can also accompany the owner on flights even if the airline or airports have no pet policy implemented.
Although the law does not provide any special guidelines to train an ESA. However, the ESA must have the right attitude and basic training to be able to provide necessary emotional support without causing damage to the owner. Some essential tips to train an ESA are shared below:
Stick to a method
The key to successfully training an ESA animal is consistency and persistent efforts. Training any animal for a specific purpose takes time. Hence, choose a method to train the ESA and stick to it. Changing methods will result in no training at all.
Once the method has been selected. Make and follow a regular schedule or routine with the ESA. This makes the animal familiar with the schedule and will more likely follow it.
The ESAs are generally trained using either of the two: positive reinforcement or a negative one. For the scenario of ESA training, the former must be selected. The reward and positive reinforcement have been proven to fortify positivity and good behaviors in ESAs.
Start at an early age
It is easier to train a puppy instead of a dog. Moreover, the dogs retain the habits developed during their puppyhood throughout their lives. The same is the case for any other animal that is used as an ESA. Train at an early stage of their life. Also, find an ESA that is social, caressing, and friendly to all.
Start with basics
The training must start from the basic daily life commands like sit, eat, etc. Although these do not directly play a role in the provision of emotional support from the ESA. However, the trainer in this way can initiate a training process and build trust with the ESA.
The trainer must use soft, calm words with an assertive tone. Also, once the ESA accomplishes the task, use words like good, OK that signal them to release from the task. After the healthcare professional completes his or her assessment and finds out that the person must get an ESA to stay emotionally supported, the professional write the letter of recommendation. This letter called the ESA Letter is the only required legal document for owners with mental disabilities to own an ESA.
Once the basic training has been done, move on to specialized emotional support tasks.
Deep pressure therapy
The most commonly used form of emotional support therapy is deep support therapy. For this, small ESAs are trained to press their bodies against a certain area of the patient's body whereas larger breeds are taught to use their paws. First, teach them to get on sofas:
Lure your ESA to come to a sofa by offering a treat there.
Command them to move their paws, bodies for smaller ESAs up when they reach near the sofa by moving treats away from them.
Once they are in the position, use the command paws so they get on the sofa.
Once the activity is completed, use the command paws/ bodies down.
After they have learned to get on sofas with you, teach them deep pressure therapy positions. For this purpose, show them the position they must take and say a specific word. Once they will get familiar with the word, they will adopt the same position whenever they hear the word. This method is very effective to use in the future for special support both psychological and physical.
Once the ESA has been trained and has formed a bond with you, it will stick by your side in every thick and thin and will give you continuous emotional support especially when there is no one else for you.
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