All About Assistance Dogs

You might know that assistance dogs help people living with disability. But have you ever wondered exactly what these amazing pups can do? Keep reading to learn all about assistance dogs in Australia.

What is an Assistance Dog?

An assistance dog is a dog that has been specially trained and provided by an accredited assistance animal provider. Training takes many years, and generally, an assistance dog should be able to perform at least 3 behaviours that directly assist a person with disability. There are other types of service canines, like emotional support and therapy dogs, which are not considered assistance dogs. And although these dogs may benefit people living with disability, they’re likely not eligible for NDIS funding.

Types of Assistance Dogs

In Australia, there are a few different types of assistance dogs. First, there are guide dogs, who help visually impaired people go about their daily life. Then, there are hearing dogs, who assist people that have a degree of hearing loss. Finally, there are service, or ‘general’ assistance dogs. These dogs support people who are living with various disabilities, and provide alerts, as well as assistance with day-to-day tasks.

What Can an Assistance Dog Do?

Assistance dogs can be taught several tasks depending on the needs of the person they support, with some dogs learning over 40 actions. These tasks may include:

  • Opening doors
  • Barking or pawing to alert their owner
  • Removing clothing
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Pressing switches
  • Picking up and carrying items
  • Supporting people in distress

Important Points About Assistance Dogs

Assistance dog owners can take their dog anywhere, including on public transport and into public places, even where regular pets aren’t allowed. If you see an assistance dog out and about, don’t approach them. They have a very important job to do, and any unsolicited petting or calling could be distracting.

If you think you might be eligible for an assistance dog, visit the NDIS website to learn more.

As you age or live with disability, it might be helpful to have a little extra support at home. Here at Simply Helping, our in home care services are flexible, and tailored to you. So, you’ll receive the support you need, to live your life the way you want. Click here to view our range of in home care services and contact us today.

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