What is an Assistance Dog (AD)?

Assistance Dog in training badge with a Border collie and says do not distract

August 30, 2021

😏 Let me tell you what an Assistance Dog (AD) is, or at least in Australia! See Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 section 9.2:
🦮 ADs are trained for specific tasks (at least 4), which will help their disabled Handler do things that their disability usually prevent.
🤔It should be noted that not all dogs will be suitable for the rigorous training required to become certified. Even starting with a purpose-bred dog, failure rates average 70%.🤯
 
 
🦮‍ A fully qualified AD has the same public access rights as a Guide Dog for the blind because they undergo public access testing (PAT). An AD can accompany their Handler anywhere (including public transport and areas where pets usually are not allowed).
🧐‍Note: It is illegal for any place of business to refuse entry to a certified AD; however, any staff member may ask the Handler to provide proof of PAT certification 🤯 (which the Handler is required to have on them at all times).
🦮 ADs can be trained to perform a range of tasks and behaviours. Some ADs know more than 50 tasks to assist their Handler.
🧐 Notes: Tasks fall under 13 categories: Retrieve, Tug, Paw, Nose nudging, Carry, Deposit, Bracing, Guide, Alert, Interrupted, Social, Block and Assistance in an Emergency.
Specific tasks may cross categories, and the actual disability only limits possible tasks.
🐾BONUS; Like all dogs, ADs also provide therapeutic and emotional support to their handlers through companionship.
🐶💖 An “Emotional Support Dog” is an American term; there is no ⛔️ such certification in Australia. A dog does not have to be an AD to provide you with emotional support or companionship.😁

The time⏱, training 🤯 and expense 💸 required to certify an AD are considerable. If you cannot navigate your daily life without assistance 🤝, you may want to consider other alternatives (Human support worker vs AD).

An AD is not a Therapy Dog 🐕‍🦺 (TD); we will look at TDs in the next post.

 
 
 

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