Assistance Dogs
We train and certify assistance dogs to provide specialised support for people with mental illness and autism


Have you ever noticed your mood improve when you spend time with your dog?  Remember that peaceful feeling when all your troubles melt away as you snuggle into your dog’s soft fur and breathe in their calming and familiar doggie scent. This is because animals offer unconditional acceptance and become a calm and welcome comfort when you are feeling emotionally distressed.

Interacting with a dog has also been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) which brings with it a range of other benefits, such as:

  • Reduced depression and anxiety
  • More confidence, self-esteem and independence
  • Increased ability to feel empathy towards others
  • Better communication skills
  • Improved family and social relationships
  • Greater engagement in routine and structure

And your dog loves it too!  Science tells us that if you want to de-stress, the best way to do it is with your dog… and that’s where we come in!

Assistance dogs provide specialised support for people with mental illness or autism.

They are for people of all ages, and we provide comprehensive training programs to support your journey. We will tailor your assistance dog’s training to meet your specific health condition and ensure it will provide you with appropriate support in conjunction with your treating team.

We have flexible training options and can arrange for one of our trainers to either –

  • Come to you
  • You come to us or
  • we can meet at a preferred location

The team at Pat Dogs Australia highly value the positive impact that dogs can have on enhancing people’s lives. Whether you have a mental illness or are diagnosed with autism, an assistance dog can help you.


Some of the areas in which an assistance dog can help you are –

We work with you to train your own dog to perform specific tasks that directly assist your everyday needs.

An example is dogs may be trained to provide deep pressure therapy, wake you in the event of night terrors, recognise the signs of the onset of a panic attack and prevent it from escalating or a range of other behaviours as required.

  • Assistance dogs can be used to alleviate a number of disorders, such as clinical anxiety disorders, depression and other mood disorders, PTSD and other Stress-related disorders, schizophrenia and other delusional disorders, behavioural disorders and many more. To best meet your needs, we spend time getting to know you and liaising with your treating specialists where appropriate.
  • Not all dogs and breeds are suited to assistance dog roles. We encourage prospective clients to discuss their specific needs with us before selecting a dog. Please be aware that some breeds do not meet our program requirements.

What to expect when applying for and accrediting an assistance dog –

  1. Complete the Pat Dogs Australia application form and include all supporting documents.
  2. We will review the application form, and if fully complete with supporting documents,
  3. We will also arrange for an assessor to complete a temperament test on your dog to ensure it is suitable for our program as an assistance dog “In-Training”.
  4. If your dog passes the temperament assessment, you will get confirmation of acceptance into our assistance dog program, you will be issued your Assistance Dog “In-Training” ID card, and we will put you in touch with one of our accredited trainers and give you access to our assistance dog foundation course;
  5. Once you complete our assistance dog foundation course, we will provide you access to the Pat Dogs Assistance Dog Academy to continue your training.
  6. During the Academy training program, you must complete a ‘Canine Good Citizen’ test.
  7. Upon passing the Canine good citizen test, We will arrange for your “In-Training” assistance dog jacket, and after receiving it, you will be able to continue training your dog in non-pet-friendly locations.
  8. Once you have completed our assistance dog academy training program, you will be ready to sit a public access test.
  9. We will arrange for an assessor to complete the Pat Dogs Public Access Test.
  10. If you pass your Public Access Test, We will issue you a notification of completion, issue you with your fully accredited Assistance Dog ID Card and also send you your new assistance dog patches for your assistance dog jacket.


What to expect after your dog is fully certified –


  1. There is an expectation that you maintain all the standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for an animal in a public place.
  2. You and your dog will be required to have a Public access test annually by one of our certified assessors.
  3. You and your dog must have at least one training session every six months with one of our accredited trainers to ensure you are supported through your journey with your assistance dog. However, many of our members choose to add additional sessions each year.
  4. You will be required to maintain annual membership to Pat Dogs Australia.


What will it cost?


  • An upfront application fee of $499; covers your initial application processing, an In-Training ID card,  one temperament test with our accredited assessors, the online training program and the Canine Good Citizen test.
  • A Public Access Test fee of $249 per test once your dog is ready and then on an annual basis
  • Annual membership fee of $199 p/a which starts from year 2.
  • One-on-one training with one of our accredited trainers is an additional cost and will be determined based on your and your dog’s abilities and skills required and the trainer’s location. This can possibly be funded via NDIS; ask us how.