Please Don't Pat Me


Assistance Dogs

An assistance dog is any dog that is trained to assist a person with a disability.

Inca - Guide Dog
Inca - Guide Dog

What is an Assistance Dog?

An assistance dog is any dog that is trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability and meet the standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place. This is the definition of an Assistance Animal under Australian Commonwealth Law. Some other countries use terms such as "Service Dog" or "Disability Aid Dog" to refer to assistance dogs. It is important to note that under Australian Law none of these terms apply.

In Australia only assistance dogs have any special protection or rights to access public places that pets are otherwise prohibited. Therapy dogs are different to assistance dogs and are welcomed in some public places that do not sell or serve food on invitation only. There is no such thing as an Emotional Support Animal under Australian law. Companion dogs are mentioned in some legislation. A Companion Dog is simply another term for a pet. They are not permitted anywhere that pets are otherwise prohibited.

Different types of Assistance Dogs

There are many different types of Assistance Dogs in Australia and there are a wide variety of jobs assistance dogs can have. It is important to keep in mind that while some things may be true for one type of assistance dog, the same may not hold true for another type.

Assistance dogs who have the same type of job are not all going to be the same in every respect, as each disability and each assistance dog team is unique.