Pre Application Form

 

Thank you for your interest in applying for an Assistance Dog.  Canine Helpers trains Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs to assist people with a disability.  Please confirm that you meet the required eligibility criteria, then scan and email this form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mail the form to: Canine Helpers for the Disabled Inc.,  PO Box 956,  Caboolture  Qld  4510 

  • I have a disability;
  • I can effectively communicate with, instruct and independently exercise a dog, or have a responsible carer to help with maintaining a dog;
  • I am able and willing to pay for food, veterinary and all other expenses for the life of a dog;
  • I have no other dogs in my home;
  • I have a fully fenced and gated yard.

If you meet ALL eligibility criteria, please complete the questions below to give us a better understanding of your details and your needs.  Applications will be followed up by a telephone interview.

 

Contact Details

 

Name:………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Address:……………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

City/Postcode:………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Contact Number:………………………………….Work Number:………………………………

 

Email:………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Date of Birth:…………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Type of Accommodation: (Please Tick)

 

House:.............. Apartment:.................Group Housing:...................Other:......................                      

 

How many people live in the accommodation with you?…………………………………………

 

Describe your medical condition:……………………………………………………………………

 

When was your medical condition diagnosed?……………………………………………………

 

Do you have any secondary health problems?  If so, please describe:……………………………

 

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Applicant’s Signature:……………………………………………Date:……………………………

 

Service Dogs

Service Dogs provide valuable physical assistance to a person with a physical disability. They allow that person to take part in activities that they otherwise might not be able to do and help them with activities of daily living so that they may be able to live more independently.


Service Dogs can perform tasks such as closing drawers, (shown here >>)

By assisting their owner with certain tasks such as pulling the wheelchair, Service Dogs can help their owner to save their strength for other activities. Because of this, and their increased independence, some Service Dog users have found employment or moved out of care facilities with the help of their dog. Service Dogs can also save the owner money by reducing their need for paid care.

Service Dogs are very highly trained animals that take a long time, and a lot of money to train. The amount of time required to train a Service Dog is similar to that of a Guide Dog. If you encounter a Service Dog (or any type of Assistance Dog) when wearing its identification coat, please remember that it deserves the same respect that you would afford a Guide Dog. Please do not try to touch or talk to the Service Dog without first asking its handler.

Service Dogs Can...

  • Lift and carry items
  • Retrieve dropped or lost items
  • Be used as a brace for people with walking difficulty
  • Open and close doors
  • Activate light switches
  • Pull a manual wheelchair
  • Accompany their owner in public
  • Bark an alert for help
  • Assist with daily tasks such as making the bed, doing the laundry etc
  • Move limbs for people with paralysis
  • And many more.......

Service dogs are also a wonderful companion and friend to their owner. Often people comment that the emotional and social benefits of having a service dog are of equal importance to the physical benefits. Service dogs help people to make friends, encourage an initial talking point for first time meetings and also give people the opportunity to gain self-esteem by doing things for themselves..

Training Standards for Service Dogs

In addition to fulfilling all of the standards that each Canine Helpers dog is required to fulfill, Service Dogs also meet the following criteria:

  • All Service Dogs must have completed a minimum of 120 hours of training.
  • Service Dogs have spent at least 30 hours training in high distraction public places.
  • Service Dogs have spent a minimum of 6 months with a Canine Helpers trainer.
  • Service Dog handlers complete a thirteen day training course.
  • Service Dogs are all trained to complete a minimum of 3 physical tasks.

Canine Helpers Service Dogs have all been entered into a Canine Control Council of Queensland Obedience Sweepstakes or Trial, except in cases where the skills required by the eventual handler conflict with behaviours required in an Obedience Trial. Some Service Dogs have completed an Obedience Title if time has allowed. Canine Helpers is the only organisation in Australia whos dogs routinely compete in recognised Obedience Trials.

Public Access for Assistance Dogs

The Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act (2009) (GHADogs), has replaced the Guide Dogs Act. This Act is designed to protect the rights of assistance dogs to accompany their handler in public places, but also specifies who can train and certify an assistance dog in Queensland. This should allow regulation of the assistance dogs that are out in public, and give confidence to members of the public that the dogs that they are coming into contact with are properly trained and accredited.

While it's a relatively new development for the Qld Government, public access for assistance dogs has been protected by federal legislation since 1992, under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). So public access privileges for assistance dogs in Qld is not a new phenomenon; assistance dogs already had a legal right to access public transport and other public spaces with their handler. The DDA specifies that a person can not be denied access to a public place on the grounds that they are accomplanied by an assistance dog. 

There are some gaps in the GHADogs legislation that means that not all people with a properly trained assistance dog are able to comply with the legislation. For instance, if a person with a disability has trained their own assistance dog, without going through an assistance dog training organisation, they are required to find a DSQ-approved trainer or training organisation that is able to accredit their dog under the new legislation. This often proves very difficult as trainers and training organisations that administer a public access test bear some responsibility for the behaviour of that dog in public. Therefore, trainers and training organisation are unwilling to test dogs whose previous training and behaviour history is not known to them.

Canine Helpers remains the only organisation that offers a certification course for privately trained assistance dogs, which takes six months to complete. There is no quick answer to accrediting a privately trained dog, and there are currently no DSQ-accredited training organisations that are able to accredit a dog that was not trained by that organisation apart from Canine Helpers.  An alternative is to employ accredited trainers to train the dog.  This can prove very costly.

The legislation fails to provide for assistance dogs visiting from interstate with their handler.  Visitors to Queensland should contact the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Section of the Department of Disability Services to get guidance on the likely obstacles to access they may experience or to seek a 'common sense' solution with the Departmental staff concerning their access requirements during their visit.  

Assistance dogs still retain their public access privileges, and can continue to accompany their handler in public places, protected by the DDA. The difficulties they face, however, include battling with DSQ's own promotion campaign regarding the GHADogs Act, which specifies that assistance dogs must wear a DSQ logo on their coat or harness, and handlers must carry a DSQ-issued ID card. Public transport officials and business owners are trying to do the right thing by members of the public by questioning people with dogs in public, armed with information brochures from DSQ with pictures of "assistance dogs" in "ID coats" sporting the DSQ logo.  A Handler and Assistance Dog without the proper Qld accreditation can be asked to leave public areas like shopping centres and public transport.  While the Handler may subsequently approach the DDA and receive a favourable response, that is not very helpful at the time the public access is denied them.

Therapy Dogs

Therapy Dogs are placed with families and individuals who need a dog to assist a person with a disability. That disability may be physical, emotional, intellectual or developmental in nature. Therapy Dogs can help improve the quality of life of someone with a developmental or social disability. People who have a physical disability and require some, but not all, of the physical assistance provided by a service dog may be granted a Therapy Dog. Children who for age reasons are not able to manage a Service Dog may apply for a Therapy Dog as the first step towards working with a Service Dog in adulthood.

A Therapy Dog must provide a service to the person with a disability which goes beyond what a normal, well trained pet dog could provide. If what you require of a Therapy Dog could be attained through the companionship provided by an obedient adult pet dog then your application is not likely to be successful. Many of the applications that are received for Therapy Dogs request support that could easily be provided by any well trained pet dog and these applications must receive a lower priority than those where specialist training is genuinely necessary.

Therapy Dogs are not:

  • Pets for people with disabilities- you must receive a tangible benefit from the Therapy Dog beyond mere enjoyment. Tangible benefits may include: the ability to go into public when you otherwise couldn't; physical therapeutic benefits such as muscle strengthening and supporting; and increased social interaction with your peers when it was not possible before.
  • just there to provide constant love - while this is a highly valuable attribute of dogs, it can be done by any pet dog
  • provided solely to alleviate loneliness, or to provide motivation

You will be required on your application form to list the tasks that the Therapy Dog will be required to do for you which classify it outside of the pet dog category.

Therapy Dogs are all selected specifically based on the information provided in your application to ensure you receive the dog that is perfect for you.

Training Standards for Therapy Dogs

In addition to fulfilling all of the standards that each Canine Helpers dogs is required to fulfill, Therapy Dogs also meet the following criteria:

  • All Therapy Dogs must have completed a minimum of 50 hours of training.
  • All Therapy Dogs must have spent a minimum of 3 months in training with a Canine Helpers trainer.
  • Therapy Dogs have spent at least 24 hours training in high distraction public places.
  • Therapy Dogs have been obedience trained to a standard that would allow their new handlers to compete in Australian National Kennel Council Obedience Trials if they wished to. Some Therapy Dogs may have already competed if time has allowed.
  • Therapy Dog recipients complete a five day training course.