Frequently Asked Questions

Its a challenging world for sufferers partnering with dogs for emotional support. Below is a list of our answers to the most frequent queries that we receive, which may save you some time:

Will DFD help train or find a dog for me?

  • DFD is a small website that provides information and signposting intended to give you all the information you need to go out and rescue and train an abandoned dog yourself, but we do not ourselves provide an assistance dog matching or training service.
  • We believe that taking control and researching what to do yourself will empower you in taking control in your life. Budgeting for a dog, thinking about how you will exercise and care for your dog,  finding your local rescue places to visit,  are all signs that you are taking the first step in your recovery journey.
  • If you feel unable to do this for yourself then think carefully about the reasons for that and ask yourself if that means you are ready for dog rescue right now. If and only you are sure you are well enough to handle the responsibility of caring for and exercising a dog, then our useful links page holds a lists of charities that may be able to provide assistance.

How do I adopt an emotional support dog?

  • If you are in the early stages of thinking about dog rescue to aid your recovery start by reading our page on “Planning Your Rescue” and take it from there.
  • For information on selecting a suitable dog there are some useful tips on “Choosing your dog”

Can you help me choose the right dog?

  • If all you need is to find a dog then www.dogpages or http://www.dogsblog.com/ are good sites to start from. They include breed specific centres as well as region by region info on the big name & local rescue centres.
  • Try to avoid having preconceptions and keep an open mind on breed and age, adult “mutts” often make the best of friends and finding a dog with the right temperament, size, and energy levels that fit to your lifestyle are most important.

I’d like to help – how can I?

  • Check out the ideas and suggestions on our “how to help” web page·
  • Financial support – due to increased visitor numbers we have had to move to a paid webserver. If you are able to offer grant or sponsorship to cover very modest webhosting costs please contribute onhttp://gogetfunding.com/project/dogs-for-depression
  • You can also download our factsheet about how dogs can help emotional health and distribute it locally to relevant parties such as GPs, medical professionals, Social Services or charities such as Mind

I’m thinking of getting a puppy –  can you give me advice?

  • If you are enquiring about purchasing a puppy you’ve completely missed the point and spirit of DFD – We never endorse or support purchasing puppies. Unsold breeders’ puppies, poor bred-to-death dog mummies and post christams not-so-cute-anymore puppies that have become too much effort are sadly all too often abandoned at rescue centres.

How do I officially register my dog as a psychological service dog or emotional support animal in the UK?

  • The UK support dog registration situation is that as yet there isn’t a way to register a psychiatric assistance/service dog or emotional support dog with the UK government and, at present, there are no clearly defined legal public access rights for psychiatric disability assistance or ES dogs.Frustratingly, unlike the USA, in Britain there is no formal acceptance of the need for psychological assistance dogs and support animals. Depression and mental illness continue to be unacknowledged as disabilities that should enable a sufferer to be as eligible for an assistance dogs as for any other condition. Despite there being a recognised list of trainable tasks that cover most common forms of mental illness or depression documented by the Psychiatric Service Dog Society (The U.S. association for psychiatric assistance dogs), in the U.K. there continues to be no process or precedent to follow in order to register a psychological assistance dog or an emotional support animal.

Can I have a support dog in my rented flat or house?

  • Landlord acceptance of support animals remains a grey area for the a number of reasons. If you have a condition that can be diagnosed as a disability under equality legislation you may have a case to make: There is disability discrimination legislation that requires landlords to make “reasonable adjustments” whether that would qualify would be on a legal precedent basis and has never gone so far as to be tested. If your condition has lasted over 12 months and meets other legal criteria of a disability then you may have some rights under the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act of 1995) having requested a “reasonable adjustment”. All service providers have legal obligations to provide access for disabled people to services under the Act. If you want to know more about Housing providers obligations under the DDA you can download a Guide for Housing providers and other resources at the Equality commission’s website. The way to do this is described on the following page of the website:http://www.dogsfordepression.org.uk/support-dogs-in-rented-housing.html

How do I train a psychological service or emotional support dog?

  • Most emotional support animals need none or next to no specialist training, a dogs pack animal instincts make them a natural support. For general obedience training our webpage http://www.dogsfordepression.org.uk/training-your-dog.html offers lots of tips.
  • In the event you have a complex or severe condition requiring specialist training for your rescue dog, there is a comprehensive list of trainable tasks on the U.S. association for psychiatric assistance dogs website that any reputable dog trainer will be able to assist you with beyond basic obedience: see http://www.psychdog.org/. Its list of trainable tasks for dogs that covers most common forms of mental illness or depression.
  • There are 2 groups that are in the early stages of trying to set up psychiatric assistance dog charities which you could contact for information (emails below) pads.uk@gmail.com (website http://www.padogsuk.org/index.html) ormentalhealthdogs@hotmail.co.uk

I am doing a school or university project, can you give me an interview / information /case study?

  • You are welcome to use the two case studies published on our website, with full attribution of copyright, free of charge.
  • You can also download our factsheet about how dogs can help emotional health