What is a Assistance / Service Dog?

Assistance dogs are defined in the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and are dogs that are specifically trained to help people with disabilities. For example, assistance dogs can be trained to help people who have PTSD, mobility impairments, are deaf or hard of hearing. We can help people with disabilities train their own dog to assist them as an assistance dog. At Canine Interaction our focus is on Autism assistance dog, psychiatric assistance dog, hearing dog and mobility.

Assistance Dog Training

Owner Requirements

  • Have a disability as defined by the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992
  • Are over 18 or have a primary parent or carer to assist with the training
  • Able to participate in training lessons over an extended period of time.
  • Able to commit time to practicing with your dog regularly between appointments.
  • Willing to wait until we evaluate your dog’s suitability and help you train your dog foundation skills before putting assistance dog identification on your dog and before taking your dog to places pets are not permitted.
  • Have support from your licensed healthcare provider for use of a assistance dog.

Dog Requirements

  • No history of aggression towards dogs, people or other animal
  • Easily trained. A breed or mix likely to have characteristics suitable for service work. Each dog is assessed as an individual but some breeds are more likely to exhibit characteristics suitable for assistance work than others.
  • No history of any serious behavior problems like fear or separation anxiety
  • Under age 3, physically healthy.

Is an Assistance Dog right for me?

Training your own assistance dog is not an easy process. There is much to consider like time and cost.

To train a assistance dog can cost up to $5000 (approx.) and can take up to 2 years.

Not all dogs can end up working as assistance dogs, time and money cannot guarantee that your dog is suitable, especially if you didn't choose your dog for this type of work at the start.

We will discuss this in more detail during the group virtual intake session.

If you have not yet purchased your dog, we highly recommend having a session with Megan to discuss suitability of breeds and temperament to help increase the chances of a good assistance dog match.

Our Assistance Dog Process

Step 1: We begin with a group virtual intake session. This is when we will answer your questions, gather information about your dog and your needs, give you important information about assistance dog training as well as training recommendations to get started.

Step 2: We conduct an 60 minute evaluation of your dog. This is when we look at how your dog responds to some minor stressors in a new situation to see if it is appropriate to begin training him or her for assistance work. This is conducted at one of our sites or a local area.

Step 3: Training for assistance work if your dog is suitable. This process usually takes 1 – 2 years but can take longer. Process includes training at our facility, in your home, at a location. These sessions can be arranged 1:1 or in groups.

Step 4: Follow-up support. Help to maintain your dog’s training throughout your Assistance dog’s working career, including reassessment every year.

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Take the first step!

Before we book your virtual appointment, please take a moment to complete the questionnaire here:


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