Please Don't Pat Me

Australia

Public Access Test

What is the public access test?

The Public Access Test is often used as the standard of general behaviour an Assistance Dog must reach to be considered fully trained. The Public Access Test is not a test of the disability mitigating tasks but rather a test that the Assistance Dog and handler must pass as a team. Assistance Dogs International prefaces their Public Access Test with the following:

The purpose of this Public Access Test is to ensure that dogs that have public access are stable, well-behaved, and unobtrusive to the public. It is to ensure that the client has control over the dog, and the team is not a public hazard. This test is NOT intended as a substitute for the skill/task test that should be given by the program. It is to be used in addition to those skill/task tests. It is expected that the test will be adhered to as closely as possible. If modifications are necessary, they should be noted in the space provided at the end of the test.

Any dog that displays any aggressive behaviour (growling, biting, raising hackles, showing, teeth, etc.) will be eliminated from the test. Any dog that eliminates in a building or shows uncontrollable behaviour will be eliminated from the test.

The bottom line of this test is that the dog demonstrates he/she is safe to be in public and that the person demonstrates that he/she has control of the dog at all times.

There are two variations of the Public Access Tests that are commonly used in Australia. The first is the Assistance Dogs International Public Access Test and then with the introduction of the Queensland legislation in 2009 a new Public Access Test was devised under the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dog Act. Not all organisations use these tests, some have their own variations but these two are the most commonly used and all other Public Access Tests are similar.

Who can conduct a Public Access Test?

That depends on what Public Access Test your using. The Assistance Dogs International (ADI) test is carried out by Assistance Dog Trainers and Assessors of ADI affiliated programs. The Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dog Public Access Test can only be carried out by an approved individual trainer under the act or an Employee Trainer of an approved training institution. The current list of approved trainers is available on the Queensland Government website. Other programs will have their own version of the Public Access Test that is carried out by their own trainers.