Assistance Dog Training

I provide professional coaching for owners who are self-training their own assistance (service) dog. I specialise in mobility, hearing and psychiatric tasks for dogs intended to work either in public or an in-home only capacity. I use positive food-based training methods.

For full details of Assistance Dog and Therapy Dog training requirements, legislative controls, and dog suitability, check out my *NEW* website

I am an accredited Cooperative Paws Service Dog Coach™ and adhere to the Cooperative Paws Code of Ethics

Do You Need a Helping Paw?

I help people with disabilities train their own dog to assist them, either as an assistance dog working in public places, or as an “In Home Only” assistance dog (with no rights to public access). I offer training for mobility assistance, psychiatric assistance and hearing dog tasks, and I can help owner-trainers prepare their dog for a Public Access Test, or to be trained to the standard required in the Test.

Contact me for application details 0404 464 793

Considering whether an Assistance Dog is right for you
Can you afford it financially? Dog ownership averages $2000 per year. Purchase of a suitable dog is likely to cost $600-$6000. Training costs from $2000-$5000. Public Liability Insurance is very costly.
Do you have time to exercise and train your dog every day? Keep records of your training? Take your dog to a variety of places for training purposes?
Are you prepared for the possibility that the dog you choose may not end up being suited to working as an assistance dog?
Do you have someone else who can take care of your dog if you are unwell?
Are you prepared for the public attention that having an assistance dog will create?

My Requirements
Handlers under 18 require an adult to accompany them to all training sessions
You need to be able to attend training lessons for 2 years – training an assistance dog is a long-term project
You need to be able to commit daily time to practicing with your dog between appointments, to keep records of your training, and to follow a training plan.
You need to have a disability as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) – simply having a disorder, medical problem or condition does not mean someone is disabled.
You need to be aware that you may end up with a dog that can only help at home or in places pets are allowed
You need to be willing to wait until I evaluate your dog’s suitability and help you train your dog in foundation skills before putting assistance dog identification on your dog and before taking your dog to places pets are not permitted.
You need to have support from your licensed healthcare provider for use of an assistance dog.
You need to help me to communicate with your healthcare professionals – this is important because the choice to use a service dog, and the selection of specific tasks, need to be appropriate and safe for the individual.

Requirements for the Dog
A cheerful dog that prefers human company over having dog friends, that shows an interest in training, is willing to work for food, is not interested in chasing animals/cars, and is mostly quiet.
A breed or mix likely to have characteristics suitable for service work such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers and Poodles. Smaller breeds are suitable for hearing work. Each dog is assessed as an individual but some breeds are much more likely to exhibit the characteristics suitable for assistance dog work than others, and just because a dog is a particular breed does not guarantee success.
No history of aggression towards dogs, people or other animals
No history of behaviour problems like fear, reactivity or separation anxiety.
Under age 3, and physically healthy.

Task Training
The dog must be individually trained in work or tasks which directly mitigate the effects of the qualifying disability i.e. the dog must do something that the person is unable to do for themselves because of their disability, that will help them with daily living. Tasks may include mobility assistance, alerting to sounds, responding to medical conditions, providing specific psychiatric support, or any combination of these. Providing comfort and support, while beneficial,  is not considered to be a Task.

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