Please Don't Pat Me

Australia

Minimum Training Standards

Standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place

Zoe - Assistance Dog in training
Zoe - Assistance Dog in training

Before any Assistance Dog or Assistance Dog in Training is brought out into places that pets are not typically allowed the Disability Discrimination Act says that the dog must be trained to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place. This is generally understood to mean that the dog must have basic obedience such as polite leash manners, have started learning disability related tasks and be toilet trained as a bare minimum.

To meet the Disability Discrimination Act's requirement for evidence that the Assistance Dog is trained to meet the standards of hygiene and behaviour required it is imperative that when training an Assistance Dog you keep training logs and other records such as certificates obtained. Where possible it is wise to document your training in video logs, but this is just a suggestion not a legal requirement.

Once these basic things are mastered Assistance Dogs should be striving to reach the level of training that would pass a Public Access Test.

Public Appropriateness

  • Dog is clean, well-groomed and does not have an offensive odour.
  • Dog does not urinate or defecate in inappropriate locations.

Behaviour

  • Dog does not solicit attention, visit or annoy any member of the general public.
  • Dog does not disrupt the normal course of business.
  • Dog does not vocalise unnecessarily, ie. barking, growling or whining.
  • Dog shows no aggression towards people or other animals.
  • Dog does not solicit or steal food or other items from the general public.

Training

  • Dog is specifically trained to perform tasks to mitigate aspects of the handler’s disability. Some organisations have a requirement that the Assistance Dog must be trained in a minimum number of disability mitigating tasks. The Disability Discrimination Act only requires one task. However other programs, especially Assistance Dogs International Accredited programs have a minimum of three tasks.
  • Dog works calmly and quietly on harness, leash or other tether.
  • Dog is able to perform its tasks in public.
  • Dog must be able to lie quietly beside the handler without blocking aisles, doorways, etc.
  • Dog stays within close proximity of its handler at all times unless the nature of a trained task requires it to be working at a greater distance.