Types of Assistance/Therapy Dogs

There are many and varied jobs dogs can be trained to do so I have broken down the types of jobs dogs can do from the least to the most specialised.

Pet Dog – Just as the name states these are pet dogs which live and play and enjoy being the family pet. Pet dogs do not have public access rights like an assistance dog. Price range between $0.00 – $3000 depending on breed, training etc

Companion Dogs – These are more specialised dogs as they are not only a family pet but are trained in specific tasks to help around the home or with the disabled person/s. These dogs do not have public access rights like an Assistance Dog however some shops are happy to allow them in if they see fit but it is not a right of the handler and the dog. The price range can be anything from $2000 – $5,000 depending on the amount of tasks the dog may be required to learn.

Therapy Dogs – Therapy dogs are normally specifically trained to work within residential homes, children’s wards, hospitals etc. The dogs must have the best possible temperament and undergo a full vet examination and temperament test which must be done yearly. Therapy dogs have proven over many many years how successful they are for the patients or clients in residential homes. Therapy dogs have some public access rights for the premises they visit but do not have public access rights like an assistance dog. The price range for a therapy dog is between $2000 – $10,000 depending on the training required.

Dogs for Schools – This program has been around for a very long time and consists of dogs going into schools to work with students, reduce anxiety, behavioral disabilities, special needs students, help with school work and listen to children read. Dogs for schools dogs must undergo a veterinary check and temperament test yearly. Dogs for Schools are normally owned by teachers many owned by special needs teachers who will do the appropriate training themselves through local dog training schools with our support. The dogs are normally introduced from a puppy into the school environment to help with socialisation etc. Dogs for Schools has becoming very popular in schools in Australia over the past 10 years and have made huge differences to many students who would have normally been unable to cope. These dogs do not have public access but do have access to the schools they work in. Some schools ever have a resident dogs. The price can vary greatly with a dogs for schools dog as the majority of training is done within the school and via the teacher. Prices can range from $2000 – $5000

Facility dogs – These are dogs that are specifically trained to work within a residential home on a permanent basis and will live onsite and managed by staff. Facility dogs do not have public access but they do have full access to the facility they work in. Prices range from $500 – $,5000.

Medical Detection Dogs – These are a fairly new type of working dog and detect various medical diseases such as cancer, brain tumors etc. It takes a very special dog to be able to detect such diseases as this is such a specialised area. They are very much along the lines of the well known drug detection dogs or the truffle detection dogs. Please contact me for more information.

Assistance Dogs – There are many and varied assistance dogs:-

Autism Assistance Dogs (AAD) – AAD Dogs are used to help encourage social interaction, interrupt repetitive behaviour, sensory input etc.  I also provide support for both the person with the disability and also their family and much more.

Medical Alert Dogs – These dogs will either alert to a condition before they occur.  Such as Diabetes, Addison’s, Blood Pressure Issues, Allergens such as Nuts, Gluten, Seizures and very rare diseases too many to mention.

Dementia Dogs – These are a relatively new area of Animal Assisted Therapy which is now being trained around the world with great success.

Mobility Dogs – These dogs work with people with physical disabilities who need help with daily life.  The dogs can be trained to pick up named items, open and close doors and windows, fetch items, turn lights on and off, fetch medicine, call for help, help with balance issues for some who may be unsteady on their feet and much much more.

Psychological Assistance Dogs – are for people who have mental health and behavioural disabilities such anxiety disorders, PTSD etc

These dogs are highly skilled and it takes a lot of dedication and training to get the dogs to an acceptable level to pass as a fully accredited assistance dog. It can take up to 3 years to train a dog depending on the skills required.

You will very often see “Assistance Dogs in Training” written on their jackets this means that the puppies/dogs are in training and may from time to time make mistakes so it is always very important not to judge and not to approach an assistance dog whether it is in training or fully accredited unless the handler is in distress and in need of medical help.

Assistance dogs are their to do a job for their handler and you distracting the assistance dog may be fatal to the handler. Assistance dogs must undergo a yearly vet check, public access test and temperament assessment to make sure that the dog is fit to work in public.

Assistance Dogs have public access rights and can go almost anywhere including shopping malls, restaurants etc. A fully trained assistance dogs price, ranges from anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000 depending on the level and skills of training required.