Service dogs bring immense comfort to veterans. Dog Training Elite offers a service dog training program, as well as franchise opportunities for veterans seeking a new career.


My service dog was a game-changer for me when I returned from a deployment with the U.S. Air Force — it provided companionship, support, and inspired a new life mission. This experience, transformative and uplifting, has been instrumental in my life, yet some of my fellow veterans have not had the same opportunity.

Supporting veterans and their business ventures is vitally important. While many veterans rely on business ownership for a sense of purpose and fulfillment, many others rely on veterans for employment, with nearly 5.5 million Americans employed by veteran business owners.

Business ownership is a popular option for veterans, with veterans owning over 1.9 million businesses in the U.S. Many find the transition from service to civilian life eased by the transferable skills required both in the military and in business ownership, such as leadership, a strong work ethic and accomplishing a goal. Franchising in particular, with its built-in support system from a corporate team and blueprint for success, is a perfect match for many veterans.

After service, one in five veterans experience PTSD or depression in some capacity. Trained service dogs can help mitigate the effects of PTSD and act as a source of calm and support. Service dogs can nudge and interrupt harmful or anxious behaviors such as foot tapping or nail biting or provide comfort through pressure by laying their head or body on their owner, for example.

As CEO of Dog Training Elite, it’s my mission to help veterans through our service dog training program. A PTSD service animal is able to go anywhere with their handler, so they can assist the handler through moments of anxiety or stress. Service dogs are trained to provide excellent mental health support, reducing depression, the frequency and severity of flashbacks and even suicidal ideation. Overall, a veteran with PTSD who is supported by a service dog is likely to find their reintegration back into society much more comfortable and experience many benefits through the experience of owning a service dog.

Because service dogs require regular exercise, their handlers are motivated to stay active. Caring for the dog establishes a routine and fosters a sense of responsibility, aiding in reintegration into society. And while reintegration and involvement in the community can be very positive for a veteran, public settings and crowds often trigger PTSD symptoms. However, service dogs can provide a physical barrier between their handler and crowds, enhancing feelings of safety.

Another common aspect of PTSD is hypervigilance. Service dogs are trained to recognize signs of anxiety and hyper-vigilance in their handlers and are able to redirect this energy into positive coping mechanisms and grounding techniques, such as petting the dog, to reduce tension and interrupt the onset of panic attacks.



PTSD can also disrupt sleep, with nightmares and distressing flashbacks, but service dogs can gently wake their handlers, reminding them they are in a safe place and grounding them once again.

American small businesses have the ability to empower veterans in their transition to civilian life while providing opportunities for business ownership which can make this transition smoother. By supporting these endeavors, we foster a community that values the contributions of veterans, enhances their quality of life through initiatives like highly trained service dogs, and celebrates their continued service in new, impactful ways. Through collective effort and compassionate support, we can significantly enhance veterans’ integration into civilian life, ensuring they have the tools to thrive and succeed.