Psychiatric / PTSD

Service Dog Trainer

Psychiatric / PTSD Dog Trainer in St. Louis, MO

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A Psychiatric/PTSD service animal will be able to go anywhere with their handler and assist them in times of high anxiety and stress. A service dog will provide emotional support, reintegration into society, reduce depression, reduce the frequency and severity of flashbacks, anchor handler to the present, and reduce suicidal ideation.

Individuals with PTSD often feel unsafe and unsure of reality, especially in public settings. Service dogs for PTSD can help ground their handler to reality, prevent people from crowding or rushing up to them and provide the emotional support needed to de-escalate anxieties. They can be trained to recognize the signs of a panic attack, wake individuals experiencing night terrors and regulate emotional responses through pressure.

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Not all training packages may be available at our Dog Training Elite St. Louis location, please reference our pricing page for complete information on services offered.

Psychiatric / PTSD Support Dog


A Psychiatric/PTSD service dog will be able to go anywhere with their handler and assist them in times of high stress and provide a sense of security. A service dog will provide emotional support, reintegration into society, reduce depression, help cope with anxiety, reduce the frequency and severity of flashbacks, anchor handler to the present, and reduce suicidal ideation. We offer a 10% discount to first responders and military.
Psychiatric service dog tasks are customizable, but examples include:

  • One-on-One In-Home Training 16 Sessions
  • Group Training Classes 16 Sessions
  • Grounding
  • Deep Pressure Therapy
  • Panic Response
  • Create a Physical Buffer
  • Interrupt Repetitive Behaviors
  • Watch rear blindspot
  • Additional tasks as needed, must be approved by trainer
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Benefits of Psychiatric/PTSD Service Dog Training:

  • Increase activity and integration into society: Dogs are active and need to be exercised regularly, the responsibility of caring for a service animal will force their handler to get out and exercise. A routine is established and ties to the future are forged again.
  • Create a sense of safety: Public settings and crowds are an enormous trigger for most individuals suffering from PTSD. Psychiatric service dogs are trained to create a physical barrier between their handler and crowds of people.
  • Ground in reality, redirect hyper-vigilance: Hyper-vigilance is a symptom of PTSD and creates constant tension and paranoia within sufferers. Service dogs are trained to recognize their handler’s warning signs for anxiety, hyper-vigilance, and panic attacks and redirect that energy into positive coping skills and grounding techniques such as petting the dog.
  • Reduce nightmares and flashbacks: One of the most emotionally challenging situations for individuals with PTSD to deal with are flashbacks and nightmares. They can transport an individual back to a terrifying time in their life where they have felt unsafe, threatened, and traumatized. A PTSD service animal is trained to bring their handler back to reality quickly and calmly, ground the individual, and help them to feel safe in their environment again.

Pricing Programs Free Assessment

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Dog Training Elite has expert PTSD dog trainers in St. Louis that provide service dog training programs for those suffering from PTSD.

Our Balanced Theory

We base our training around the "Classical Conditioning" model (a.k.a. "Pavlovian" or "respondent conditioning"). This includes developing conditioned or automatic reflexes to commands. In its simplest form (after proper conditioning), when the owner says "sit," the dog automatically sits without thinking about it. Our unique techniques ensure our program is a success no matter what behavior we encounter.

  • Empowering Owners
    We empower Owners to train so their dog knows who to obey at all times.
  • Personalized
    We deal with problem behaviors on a personal basis.
  • Environment Specific
    We train wherever issues tend to arise (i.e. jogging, park, home).
  • Supportive
    We support Owners in the off-hours (when training is "not in session").
  • Involved
    We work with all members of the household.
  • Simplified & Customized
    We plan training around the owner's schedule and require only 20 min/day follow-up practice.
  • Continued Training
    Additional programs / group sessions offered after in-home training.
  • Lifetime Investment
    We follow up & are invested in the owner's success long-term.
  • Satisfaction Ratings
    Our high client satisfaction rating sets us apart from competitors.

We help your dog become a valued companion and beloved member of the family. Read what our customers have to say and then give us a call!

Tyler was/is amazing! Our 4yr old mix breed dog was usually terrified of any man that walked into our house. Binny and Tyler became friends after the second training session. We learned SO much and it is very refreshing to have a properly trained dog. Our lives are changed as well as Binny’s. He is now able to just chill and be a dog in his place instead of barking and being scared. We can go to our camper by the river and not worry about him bolting out of the door as soon as someone opens it and he likes to sit outside with us now. We practice everyday and he’s still learning but we were given the proper direction to be able to make Binny more comfortable and our lives less stressful. Thank you so much Tyler we appreciate you and also enjoyed getting to know you as well. 10/10 recommend!
— Crystal Buss
Posted April 3rd 2024
My 3-year-old Bernedoodle, Millie, was very reactive to practically any person, dog or thing that moved before training began. After even the first couple sessions with Cameron, she was already showing signs of improvement. Today was her last one-on-one (her eighth session) and we went to the park, which I haven't been to for a walk since getting Millie six months ago. I now have the confidence to walk in the park with her beside me and know that I have everything under control. She's miles from where she was in the beginning, and I'm so proud of her. I could never thank Dog Training Elite enough to see how reactive she was in the beginning and have the confidence to say it could be turned around. I'm also grateful for Cameron's patience with Millie and ME. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect trainer for us. I'm eternally grateful.
— Valeri Pearon
Posted March 29th 2024
I contacted Dog Training Elite late last year about my 3 year old Pomeranian, Gus, whose dog and human reactivity has been a problem for the majority of his life. I had taken him to another trainer prior to Dog Training Elite, and my next stop was a priest for an exorcism because his reaction to other people and dogs was demonic. Since working with dog training elite, I have been able to walk him and have people in my home without a nuclear response. We can pass people on walks without him going full demon mode, and for the most part, I no longer see any reaction. He is still a work a work in progress, but I now know how to handle situations better to set him up for success. Kelvin, his trainer, was wonderful to work with and extremely knowledgeable. The group classes have been great to attend to strengthen his training with high distractions, and Gus did not, in fact, ever need an exorcism!
— Rachel McAllister
Posted March 14th 2024
DTE is a wonderful organization! Iam now able to safely take a walk with my 100 lb dog Bailey. No more pulling and aggressive behavior. Tyler is an excellent trainer and advisor. It is amazing how much he taught my dog and me in just 6 hour lessons. The park group lessons are also a great adventure and learning experience! I recommend DTE without reservations!
— JoAnne Stanfield
Posted March 12th 2024
I had a fantastic experience with these folks training my English Bulldog (I know unusual breed for service animal) to be come a formally trained task-complete service dog. From the initial evaluation with Matt, and the basic training with Kelvyn through the advanced training with Cameron we had a consistently excellent interaction with DTE. Trainers were knowledgable, patient, professional punctual and enthusiastic; expectations were always set appropriately. Use of the e-collar was very sensitive and caring (since my dog was very positively food motivated treats sufficed for the vast majority of her training and we didn't need the collar very much--but it was great learning how to carefully use the device when necessary). The sessions in public places (malls, stores and airport) were terrific in addition to the in home sessions and communications and scheduling were easy and diligent. I look forward to traveling with my pup with confidence in her training and ADA qualifications. Materials provided along with the classes were terrific. This was obviously more intensive (and yes expensive) than simple obedience training, but with patience and consistency it is amazing what can be done. I think the cheap on-line alternatives and shortcut 'take a few video lessons and get a certificate' are nonsense and bogus. This elite training was worth every dollar and DTE stands behind their training and certification for the long run. Special thanks Matt and Cameron!!
— Jeffrey Rose
Posted March 7th 2024
Michelle and Tyler were wonderful! I’m looking forward to working with my dog to make her the best she can be! Thank you for your help!
— Pippy P
Posted February 22nd 2024
Thank you Kelvin for all your training that you provided Rayna and myself...I've learned how important it is to know and be able to read your dog...think like your dog so they will know what to expect 😉. Thank you for showing me how to give your dog commands, positive reinforcement and praise. Rayna says thank you for fixing me.
— Susan Brown
Posted January 21st 2024
Highly recommend Elite. Matt and his staff worked with our rescued female Doberman, Carly, and we are thrilled with the outcome. Elite was recommended to us by a friend who also had a great experience with their two dogs. We believe the investment was well worth it! We also love the group classes that are available once the one-on-one training has been completed.
— Bill Latz
Posted December 27th 2023
If you are ever thinking about going to dog training elite, go with your gut and say yes. I chose to go with dog training elite, and my dog and me came out better than ever. They don’t just work with your dog for whatever training you choose like service dog, protection work, basic obedience, therapy dog work, and more, they work with you also so when training is over you can thrive at what you have learned throughout your whole training. I got so lucky because I don’t trust my dog with just anyone especially the person who’s gonna help my dog help me out more than he already did. I got lucky with Cameron, she helped me past what you would think you would get back from dog training. She is funny, amazing, and just Cameron. If you ever get to meet her she will bring a light into your life and your dog’s life. My dog’s tail wags faster than anything in this world when he hears that he gets to see Cameron. Cameron goes above and beyond what the job entails. She shows you that dog training elite is the best choice to go with for dog training. It didn’t just make my dog a better service dog it made me a better service dog owner so my dog is and will be the best that he can be with his tasks. Kai will forever be grateful for Cameron because now he can help me his parent out with all that I go through. I will also forever be grateful for Cameron and the whole dog training elite company that has helped me and kai get through this process, but especially Cameron. Also just thought I should show you how perfect kai is, he’s in his goggled and dog training elite vest
— Savahnah Olander-Walsh
Posted December 20th 2023
Saved my dog! A totally new dog! The aggressive behavior has been changed.
— Paula Bryant
Posted December 18th 2023
I picked Dog Training Elite because of its high rating on Google. I was desperate at the time to be able to walk my 5 month old Bernese Mountain Dog with a stroller and not hurt my harms from all of his pulling. The training was simple, the trainers were great. Within a week, our dog learned to heel and walks were peaceful again. I reserved my review for over a year because they told me that with repeated, quick daily sessions, when he was closer to 2 years old I wouldn’t rely on the training collar and his training would be solid. Here we are, Boomer Sooner is 2 years old and although I still put a collar on him most days, he is so well trained in every area that I rarely use it. My 3 year old is able to walk him on a leash. He’s not a robot but he knows what we expect from him. Today, something happened to remind me to leave a review for these trainers. With all the wind, our backyard gate blew open while our dog was outside and because we’ve taught him not to rush the door or rush gates, he stood there looking at it and then his recall was immediate, the first time I called him. I’m grateful for the training we received from this company and the well behaved dog we have as a result!
— Corianne B
Posted December 18th 2023
Matt and his team were incredible. As an owner who had previously only used treat-based training before, I was extremely hesitant to try other methods such as an eCollar. Despite my hesitation, Matt took the time to explain to me what an eCollar was actually used for and dispelled many of the misconceptions I had heard on the internet. Like treats, an eCollar is a tool, and one that surprisingly DOES NOT HURT! How do I know? We tried it on ourselves at the setting we would be using on our dog! After our introductory meeting, we were paired with Hunter, who is just the most incredible dog trainer any owner could hope for. Our dog was working on reactivity toward other dogs. Hunter took the time to explain both high-level dog psychology to establish a framework for us to think about our dog's behavior, as well as multiple tangible tricks and training routines that we could put into daily practice. What I really like about Hunter's style of training is that he doesn't apply some inflexible, his-word-is-law approach, but meets our needs and our dog where they are. Could not recommend Dog Training Elite more highly (except by saying, work with Hunter if you can)!
— Robert Chen
Posted July 5th 2023
We cannot say enough about Matt and his team at Dog Training Elite. We recently completed our sessions for the service training and certification of our Labrador puppy, and they worked to make us each successful every step of the way. The trainers are all responsive and passionate about their work, and best of all, the dogs with which they train. Both the individual sessions and the group training sessions were well managed and essential components for our dog’s training. We are forever grateful to Matt and all of the staff at Dog Training Elite!
— Jennifer Falk
Posted June 18th 2023
Could not recommend Dog Training elite more!! Extremely dedicated group of people with a deep knowledge of dog behavior. Very compassionate and will work with you nonstop until you meet your goals with your pup!! Very happy with this amazing team.
— Natalie
Posted May 26th 2023
Best Training Program we have used! I really like how we train alongside our dog. All trainers are extremely helpful with excellent advice and solutions to issues. Matt has assembled a terrific team with well organized, educational classes. We’ve had a great time “at school” and my dog is making great strides in the Therapy Dog Program.
— Tina McNulty
Posted May 3rd 2023
I contacted Matt at Dog Training Elite because my 6 year old dog was holding me hostage. I couldn't leave him with anyone, I was uncomfortable when company came over. I tried local store Training classes but there were still problems. My dog was dragging me up and down hills, barking and jumping at other dogs and being possessive of furniture and other items in the house. He now plays with other dogs, walks along side of me, sits calmly and waits for commands. He is a happy dog now and I no longer worry about his behavior. Thank you Dog Training Elite.
— Debbie Cooper
Posted April 23rd 2023
I did a lot of research before picking Dog Training Elite. I am so happy with my decision. My puppy had learned so much in the 6 at home lessons. He had some aggressive behavioral issues that have gotten significantly better since we started training. I couldn’t recommend them more!
— Jane Hodell
Posted April 21st 2023
George did a fantastic job with Cooper and helped him with his anxiety and fear of new people. Cooper loved working with George and has a lot more confidence thanks to him
— Matt Sumners
Posted April 5th 2023
Matt and his team do an incredible job and they all have the best hearts. I reached out to DTE with a fear reactive dog, completely hysterical over a bite incident. Within 30 minutes Matt was at my house for an evaluation, and upon meeting my dog he decided that he did not think the aggressive program was necessary, and we gave the obedience program a try first, and he was right! We met a few trainers before finding one that not only bonded with my dog, but one my dog felt comfortable with, and for the remaining sessions it was him we had the pleasure of seeing once a week. He pushed all of us out of our comfort zone, challenging me to work hard and earn that trust and confidence my dog again. I am happy to say that with DTE’s obedience program we are now able to take the dog with us to eat on the patios of populated bars without so much as a bark or a growl. My dogs trust in me, my trust in him, and my trust in myself have all benefited from working with Dog Training Elite. I now have the tools to keep my dog, and everyone else safe, happy, and comfortable; and not only has the reactivity gotten better but my dog is overall better behaved, more obedient, less anxious, and just all around a better listener. I could not be more pleased or more grateful for my experience with Matt’s team of trainers.
— Mallory Newberry
Posted March 31st 2023
Five stars to Matt Willis and his staff of Dog Training Elite for their excellent work in training our miniature Australian Shepherd Poodle (Aussiedoodle) to be a psychiatric service dog. At four months they began teaching my small dog along with my husband and me. At age twelve months Maya became a certified psychiatric service dog. She now qualified to accompany us in restaurants, grocery stores, airplanes, public transportation and other public places. Without the expert assistance of Hunter, Dom, and particularly Matt obtaining certification would not have been possible in so short a time with such a young dog. I would recommend Matt and company to anyone wanting his or her dog to be obedient, follow commands and provide comfort, companionship and assistance. They are absolutely the BEST!
— Cindy
Posted March 29th 2023

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Proud Sponsor of The Malinois Foundation

At Dog Training Elite St. Louis, we believe that Service Dogs save lives. It is our mission to make these life-saving companions available to our Veterans, First Responders, Women Survivors, and Children with Medical Needs. Whether it be for PTSD, Mobility Support, or Special Needs, Dog Training Elite St. Louis works with the Malinois Foundation to heal and empower these individuals with a specialized service animal, a partner in life, and a new best friend.

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