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Hi,
I don't know exactly where to start as I'm not exactly forum illiterate but I'll start from my mental illnesses? I'm all new to this and I don't want to offend anybody so if I do, let me know!

I have social anxiety I prefer to be home really a major introvert hermit and I have had a full panick attack a few months ago in public, at casino. I don't like large crowds and unfamiliar faces, that's not for me.

I have paranoia I keep thinking something, someone, government, and/or hidden cameras in the house somewhere it makes me feel really anxious.

Depression it isn't a big bother as much but there are times I will here and there get sad for apparently no reason at all.

Intrusive Thoughts/Not Intrusive Behavior there's times I will have a thought but no action of doing what my thoughts are.

I have done research and a psychiatric service dog for anxiety and depression is for those but what about paranoia and intrusive thoughts? Can I get a service dog and how to start? Where to start?

I haven't went to a doctor or did therapy yet but I'm definitely interested in doing that and do tests whatever I can to get the help that I need!

I'm trying to take slow steps and not rush and make things worse.
 

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Hey OwO, welcome to the forum!
Sounds like a lot, but baby steps and a plan are good steps. I would talk to a therapist and doctor first, and begin treatment and find a working treatment plan, before making any decisions about getting a service dog. While some people do very well, others do not, and to be honest, the dog suffers and it can worsen anxiety and such for the human. Just depends, and it requires an intimate and in depth knowledge of you that you're not going to get accurately over the internet.
Any friends with well behaved dogs? Maybe try taking a walk with them in the early morning or at night, get a feel for it?
Down the road, if you're a good candidate, start researching breeders and take a look at some Facebook groups for service animals and mental health support. While you can self-train service dogs, imo for you, I think one that has been professionally trained would be beneficial. They can help you narrow that search. Welcome again!
P.s. make.sure to read the working dog/therapy/etc. stickies
 

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Hi,
I don't know exactly where to start as I'm not exactly forum illiterate but I'll start from my mental illnesses? I'm all new to this and I don't want to offend anybody so if I do, let me know!

I have social anxiety I prefer to be home really a major introvert hermit and I have had a full panick attack a few months ago in public, at casino. I don't like large crowds and unfamiliar faces, that's not for me.

I have paranoia I keep thinking something, someone, government, and/or hidden cameras in the house somewhere it makes me feel really anxious.

Depression it isn't a big bother as much but there are times I will here and there get sad for apparently no reason at all.

Intrusive Thoughts/Not Intrusive Behavior there's times I will have a thought but no action of doing what my thoughts are.

I have done research and a psychiatric service dog for anxiety and depression is for those but what about paranoia and intrusive thoughts? Can I get a service dog and how to start? Where to start?

I haven't went to a doctor or did therapy yet but I'm definitely interested in doing that and do tests whatever I can to get the help that I need!

I'm trying to take slow steps and not rush and make things worse.
Hi. Welcome to the forum.

First of all, well done to you for recognising you have a problem and reaching out. I mean that sincerely. Admitting you need help is half the battle. There's nothing offensive in your post. :)

I'm not in the US, so my knowledge of the process to get a therapy dog is limited. But whilst a therapy dog may help, I do think you need other coping mechanisms as well as a therapy dog.

One is simple - breathe. Breathe in to the count of four, hold for the count of four, breathe out for the count of four. Rinse and repeat as many times as necessary.

Another is to challenge your thinking - and the easiest way to do that, is to distance yourself from the thought - ie, "What would I say to a friend if they said what I'm thinking?"

For example, if we take your fear that there are hidden cameras in your house. Imagine a friend or favourite relative told you that they thought the government were spying on them. What would you say to them? You're not likely to say, "Yup, you're absolutely right. They certainly are" - are you? ;). You'd be a pretty rubbish friend if you did. You might say, "Of course they're not. Why would they? Besides - we've been here all the time - when would they have had the chance?"

Another method of doing this is to say "Anxiety's being a jerk again".

This helps because you're naming the problem and distancing yourself from it, which allows the rational part of your mind to take over. I remember one particular time when depression was taking over (not helped by sleep deprivation). I was thinking I wasn't any good as a dog owner, that my dogs would be better of with someone else. I was in the middle of a walk at the time, and I told myself "Depression's being a D!ck again.". Which, again, is something a friend would say. I stopped, blinked, realised it was true and finished the walk with a smile on my face.

Meditation and mindfulness can help, too.
 

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I owould have to say , dogs are not a magic wand.. Ive heard they can work wonders and Ive seen how people can change around them. But Ive also seen how that angst and fear can transfer to the dog so the dog ends up with serious issues or the owner just ends up with yet more things to worry about and more fears such as what if something happens to my dog what if they are attacked etc etc.

As LMMB says its great that you are asking and not just plunging in eyes shut...

If I were you I would start by contacting an a\ssociation who helps to match service dogs to owners. That way you would have support from the word go. Someone who could be with you on each step of this process.

Again I agree that looking for other coping mechanisims is a good idea , dogs are great at some things.. I mean if Im on my own at night and hear a creepy noise I look at the dogs if they dont move I know its nothing ..If they are up and barking Im up and on alert.. But , say Im worried people will laugh at my new glasses, my dogs cant help they love me no matter how I look ,,I have to say 'I dont care what the world thinks, I like my glasses so they can just go jump in the lake'.. I have to make that decision.

So maybe try talking to a couple of organisations who deal with therapy dogs and see what they say first. But please keep us up to date on your progress and if you do get a dog remember we are here to support or at least lend an ear for all the other stuff like puppy/new dog blues / housetraining / food advice/ and of course all the fun stuff and the photos...
 

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I agree with the above posts. It may not be possible for you to do the things that LMMB suggests, although those are good suggestions. sometimes you need help even to get started, so getting mental health professional help for yourself is a first step.

Also, I want to mention that there are many different ways to get a service dog. And even more ways to have a ESA dog. The two are extremely different, and so from the first it's vital that you know what those differences are, what the laws are, and what those dogs do and do not do so that you can figure out which of those two choices you really need.

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) website clarifies everything, and explains all of it and gives you the laws that you need to know. there are also places where these things are discussed online, but be very careful to check what someone says against the ADA website, because people will say things that are untrue and this is especially prevalent in this subject matter online.

One thing that would be good to do is make a list of the things that you need help with and how you see a dog being able to help you. For instance, would you want the dog to lead you outside if you have a panic attack in a store, or would you want the dog to sit on your foot, or put their paw on you, or what. What would help you if you are having intrusive thoughts? How would the dog help? In other words, what can the dog be trained to do? Be as specific as you can in this list.

You can in the USA train your own service dog, but in order to train the dog properly to what the dog needs to know and do you need professional help. Even if you are yourself a very skilled trainer of dogs, you need some professional help to get things right for a service dog. Where I live there's an organization that helps people train their own service dogs, with classes and mentoring. Look to see if there's one near where you live. But no matter how you approach this, whether you train the dog or have someone else do it, it is not a cheap thing to do. Expect it to cost you at least a few thousand dollars to end up with a trained service dog. If you want one that has already been trained, it may be $10,000.

Having a ESA dog instead might also work for you but ESA dogs cannot go into stores and restaurants the way service dogs can. The good part is they don't need special training, either. They are just there for you at home, but the advantage to having a registered therapy dog is that you cannot be kicked out of your rented place for having a dog if it is a registered therapy dog. Registrations vary on this from place to place.

Finally, be aware that there is no such thing as a national registration for service dogs and the websites that say there is are scams that are only trying to take your money. Paying them for some kind of identification card for your dog doesn't make your dog a service dog, (there is no such thing as a legal national ID card for a service dog) and there are strong penalties for people who take a dog who is not actually a service dog into places where dogs are not permitted ordinarily.

In order to get a trained dog or to be admitted into a program that helps you train a dog you need a diagnosis from a doctor. A service dog can help you with all of the things you mention, but it's not a simple thing and may take years from the time you decide you want one to the point that you actually have one.

Best of luck to you and I would be very interested to hear from you again to know what path you choose to take, and to help if possible.

(edited because I mistakenly wrote "therapy dog" when what I meant to say was "ESA dog". Just now caught that while re-reading my post)
 

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I haven't went to a doctor or did therapy yet but I'm definitely interested in doing that and do tests whatever I can to get the help that I need!

I'm trying to take slow steps and not rush and make things worse.
You’re putting the cart before the horse..... You need diagnosed, treated if necessary, and work through various options.

You self-diagnosed, and then started researching what you see as a potential treatment.
 
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