Completing the public access test and certifying your dog
The Public Access Test (PAT) establishes a minimum standard for guide, hearing and assistance dogs to be certified under the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 (the Act).
You must use an approved trainer or training institution to work with you to train your guide, hearing or assistance dog, take you and the dog through the PAT, and certify your dog.
A trained dog must be certified within 7 days after successfully completing the PAT. This will confirm your dog is safe and effective in a public place, public passenger vehicle, or place of accommodation, and is able to be physically controlled by you, as primary handler of the dog, or as a primary handler with the support of an alternative handler.
Trained dogs become certified when they:
- perform identifiable physical tasks or behaviours to assist a person with a disability to reduce their need for support
- have passed a PAT conducted by an approved trainer or training institution within 7 days of certification and prior to requesting a handler identity card
- are not a restricted breed under the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008
- are de-sexed and vaccinated
- have not been declared a dangerous dog under a local law.
Dogs must also undergo regular skill updating and testing to make sure they stay safe and effective in public places and public passenger vehicles.
To be eligible you need to:
- have a disability as defined by the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009
- rely on a guide, hearing or assistance dog to reduce your need for support
- be able to physically control your dog, or identify an alternative handler to support you to control the dog
- have your dog pass the PAT and be certified by an approved trainer or training institution.