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Services ยป Training for Assistance Dogs


Training for Assistance Dogs

I want to train my dog to become an assistance/service dog.  Can you help me?

Service Dog Training Newcastle

Through private lessons, we train you to train your dog to become an assistance dog. 

Most of the training will be done by you as the owner, however we strongly recommend private lessons in order for you to learn how to train your dog to become an assistance dog.

This may be a physical assistance/service dog (the dog undertakes tasks for you such as turning on lights, opening doors, bringing you things etc.) or a psychiatric assistance/service dog (a dog who alleviates your psychiatric condition).

Psychiatric assistance/service dogs help their owners with their conditions including:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Panic Disorder and more.

It can take up to 2 years or more to train an assistance/service dog.


What does my dog need to learn to be an assistance/service dog?

1.  You will need to train your dog in basic obedience type behaviours such as sit, down, come, stay, stand, walking nicely on a lead, settling etc.  These behaviours will need to be taught on and off lead.

2.  Your dog will also learn physical tasks if you are training your dog for task training.  This can include picking up things for you and bringing them to you, turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors, cupboards, fridge etc. 

If you have a psychiatric assistance/service dog, depending on your condition, your dog can learn to:

  • alert to panic and anxiety
  • keep people at a distance from you
  • prevent people from approaching you from behind
  • interrupt night terrors
  • give deep pressure therapy etc.

Service Dog Training Newcastle

3.  The third thing your dog will need to learn is public access skills. 

This includes:

  • car and public transport travel if applicable
  • getting in and out of lifts
  • going up and down stairs
  • going through manual and automatic doors
  • working under distraction
  • going into shopping centres/supermarkets and grocery stores
  • walking past other dogs without reacting and so on. 

The dog needs to be able to access public areas and be well behaved.  

Service Dog Training Newcastle

What do I need to be able to train an assistance/service dog?

1. You will need a suitable dog.  Some people already have their own pet dog that is suitable to be trained to be an assistance/service dog.  Others will need to acquire a suitable dog to be an assistance/service dog.  It is best if your dog is desexed. 

2. If you would like to ‘owner’ train your assistance/service dog, meaning you train your dog to be an assistance/service dog, you will need to be capable of doing this.  This means you will need to be physically and mentally able to do this training with the dog and also take on the responsibility of owning a dog.  Training an assistance/service dog can take up to 2 years so you will need to be able to work consistently throughout that time period to achieve a certified status. 

3. You will need to dedicate the time to undertake the training and meet with us on a regular basis for your private lessons.  You will also need to be able to work with your dog in between our lessons in order to practice what you have learnt with us.

4. You will need to be able to have the funds to care for a dog (veterinary treatment, food, bedding, collar, lead, grooming etc.) and afford the training necessary to reach assistance dog level.  Whilst most of the training will be conducted by yourself, you will still need to be able to afford our services in order to train you to train your dog.

5.  A dog is usually a 12 to 15 year commitment.  It is a big responsibility to have a dog, so you need to be able to commit longer term to having a dog.  Please think seriously about all of the requirements listed above.  Adopting a dog and then having to re-home it because you cannot fulfil those requirements can cause a lot of distress for a dog.  

What size, age and breed of dog can be an assistance/service dog?

Any size and breed of dog can be an assistance/service dog.  What is more important is that the dog has the right temperament to be an assistance/service dog. 

We encourage owners to look at rescue dogs.  Rescue dogs from reputable rescue groups, pounds and shelters can make fantastic assistance/service dogs.   We do not help people find a suitable dog however, we can conduct an assessment of the dog to determine if there is potential for the dog to be suitable for assistance/service dog work.

Service Dog Training Newcastle

In regards to the age of the dog, we have found that puppies can be too much for an owner to deal with.  There are lots of puppy behaviours that you will need to deal with first before starting ‘official’ assistance or service dog work. 

If you are going to get a puppy, we recommend you seek our services immediately so that we can set the foundation for your puppy to be an assistance/service dog.

We usually recommend dogs over 2-3 years of age.  Older dogs can also make great assistance/service dogs.  

What type of dogs are not suitable to be assistances/service dogs?

1. Dogs who display aggressive or reactive behaviours.
2. Dogs who have fear/ anxiety disorders or mental health conditions themselves.
3. Some medical conditions will exclude a dog from becoming an assistance/service dog.

How can we help

Through private lessons, we can train you, to train your dog to become an assistance/service dog.  We do not train the dog for you.  We are fully certified, fully qualified professionals who have been training people to train their assistance dogs for the past 8 years.  We regularly update our knowledge, experiences and qualifications in assistance dog training and only use positive reinforcement techniques (on both dog and human!) to achieve your training goals.

Service Dog Training Newcastle

Cost for Assistance Dog Training / Lessons        

$120 for 45-minute training session
(face-to-face conducted at our home office in Adamstown Heights OR Skype/ZOOM appointments)


*  CANCELLATIONS OR RESCHEDULING - We require 72 hours notice for any changes or cancellation otherwise the full consultation fee will be charged.
*  If training is conducted outside of our home office, extra charges will apply.
* Please note if you require us to come to your home for training please contact us directly for a quote.

Contact Us

We are based in Kotara, NSW
(Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Region)

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