slide 1
Image Slide 2
Image Slide 1
Image Slide 3
previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow

About Us

Pat Dogs Australia assists mental health sufferers and people with Autism in procuring, training and certifying mental health assistance dogs and autism assistance dogs.

Mental health assistance dogs  (Psychiatric Assistance Dogs) and Autism assistance dogs are trained to reduce the impact of specific symptoms for people with mental illness or Autism and improve their overall quality of life. Assistance Dogs can help those living with mental illness and Autism by helping to improve personal relationships, encourage engagement in the community, and recover aspects of functioning that may have been affected by their mental illness or Autism.

All dogs trained and certified by Pat Dogs Australia possess complete Public Access Rights, allowing them to accompany their handlers on public transport and access nearly all public areas. These rights are protected under the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992.

Pat Dogs is registered with the Transport for NSW Assistance Animal Permit program. Following the successful completion of our Assistance Dog Accreditation training program, we can provide a supporting letter for your application.


What can we do for you?

  • Assist in training and certifying your own dog as a Mental Health or Autism Assistance Dog through personalised guidance from dedicated trainers and structured online learning.
  • Support your access to NDIS funding for our Canine Capacity Building Program, aiding in life skills development and future assistance dog training.
  • Deliver specialised assistance dog training courses via our online platform.
  • Back your application for an Animal Assistance Permit with Transport NSW.
  • Secure your Assistance Dog travel rights for Virgin Australia flights.
  • Aid in registering your assistance dog with your local council.


How can an Assistance Dog help?

Assistance Dogs lend support to individuals grappling with Mental Health challenges or Autism through two fundamental ways: Advanced Skills Training and the Human-Animal Bond:

  1. Advanced Skills Training:

Every PAT dog undergoes intensive training for up to two years, refining skills tailored to address the specific needs of the handler, including:

  • General Obedience – This is general obedience commands like sit, stay, down, come, heel etc. There are more commands an Assistance Dog needs to learn than a normal pet dogs, because we need to keep them safe in a range of different environments (which pet dogs just don’t normally go). For an Assistance dog, we need the dog to be able to do these commands in many different environments and potentially under some extremely distracting circumstances. You will be aiming to work with your trainer to master these general obedience commands to a high level and also under distraction.
  • Public Access Skills – These skills are the types of things tested in a Public Access Test. They are things like travelling in a lift, going up and down stairs, not scavenging food, working around people and trolleys etc.
  • Disability-related Tasks – These skills are what turn a well-trained pet into an Assistance Dog (or a medical aid). We need at least three Disability related tasks for each Assistance Dog. These tasks are specific tasks which must help alleviate the effects of your disability and It is undoubtably the reason why you wanted an assistance dog in the first place.

Individuals dealing with mental health issues or Autism often exhibit external signs linked to their stress response (e.g., leg bouncing, hand rubbing, heavy breathing, excessive sweating, etc.). Our mental health assistance dogs are trained to interpret these signs, responding with relevant tasks to provide timely support.

Our training is highly personalised, tailoring the dog’s disability-related tasks to your specific needs. We actively promote and support ongoing skill development within our dog teams.

  1. The Human-Animal Bond:

The close connection between a person and their dog nurtures a profound sense of safety, which is particularly beneficial for individuals with mental illness.

A dog’s calming influence can alleviate both physical and psychological reactivity, proving especially valuable for those who have experienced mental illness.

By tapping into this calming effect through grounding techniques, an Assistance Dog can help reduce threat responses, facilitating increased community engagement and smoother interpersonal interactions.

We collaborate with successful applicants to cultivate a strong bond with their dogs, leveraging this connection to acquire the skills and motivation needed to achieve their goals.

The Public Access Rights granted to Assistance Dogs ensures is available throughout the day in nearly all settings.