Choosing a guide, hearing or assistance dog

You may need a guide, hearing or assistance dog if you have a disability and need support to live more independently and access public places, public passenger vehicles, or rental or holiday accommodation in Queensland.

Most people are familiar with the guide dogs used by a person with vision impairment. However, there are many other ways that dogs can be specifically trained to assist people in their everyday lives, including:

  • alerting people with a hearing impairment to specific sounds
  • pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up items, or helping with balance for people with mobility impairments
  • alerting an oncoming medical episode, for example, diabetic attack or epileptic seizure
  • alerting a person with psychiatric illness to move away from a situation that increases symptoms.

What type of dog do you need?

Guide dogs

Guide dogs can be trained to take directional instructions and find a suitable travel path. They also alert you to changes in ground levels. Guide dogs help you to avoid obstacles at head height, avoid oncoming traffic, and go around obstacles. They will even find objects.

Hearing dogs

Hearing dogs are trained to alert you to specific sounds in the home, such as a phone ringing, an alarm sounding, or a baby crying. Some hearing dogs also work outside the home, alerting you to specific sounds in public settings and vehicles. Instead of barking, hearing dogs get your attention by touch (such as a nose-nudge or pawing) and then they lead you to the source of the sound.

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are trained to perform a range of tasks and behaviours for people with a disability. Assistance dogs can also be trained to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder, to access and participate in the community. Some assistance dogs know more than 50 assistive tasks.

Guide, hearing or assistance dogs are not to be confused with a therapy/emotional support/companion dogs. Such dogs are not considered an assistance or service dog, as the owner may not have a disability and/or the dog has not been trained to undertake specific, identifiable tasks and behaviours to reduce the person’s need for support. The dog is therefore is not recognised under the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009.

Protection under the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009

In Queensland, the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 protects the public access rights of dogs and their handlers that have been through a certification process.

To gain certification, you must work with one of the following approved trainers or training institutions to train your dog and complete the public access test and certification process. You may then request the trainer to obtain a handler identity card for you, and a blue and white cloth badge for your guide, hearing or assistance dog to display on its coat or harness.

Approved trainers and training institutions

The following dog training services are approved under the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009.


Name Approved dog categoryContactLocation
Association of Australian Assistance Dogs Assistance dogs
(07) 4092 3344

Canine Helpers for the Disabled Assistance dogs
(07) 5309 4222

Empower Assistance Dogs Hearing and assistance dogs
(07) 3200 5421

Guide Dogs Queensland Guide dogs
1800 810 122

Bald Hills
In the Paws of Angels Assistance dogs
0412 138 151

K9 Tales Assistance dogs
0478 600 379

Diamond Valley
Kylie Smith Assistance dogs
0409 789 549

Positive Response Dog Training Assistance dogs
(07) 3459 2121

Smart Pups Assistance Dogs Hearing and assistance dogs
(07) 5485 0031

Stapell Working Dog Guide dogs
0418 635 293



Name Approved dog categoryContactLocation
Centre for Service and Therapy Dogs of Australia Assistance dogs
0458 458 541

Emelia Wilmot Assistance dogs
0414 477 772

Guide Dogs Victoria Guide dogs
1800 804 805

Helen Read Assistance dogs
0415 833 508

Geelong area

Jessica Torrance t/a Assistance K9

0499 858 994
Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs Guide dogs
1800 037 773


New South Wales

NameApproved dog categoryContactLocation
Integra Service Dogs AustraliaAssistance
0412 547 889
Miracle Assistance DogsHearing and assistance
0409 343 051
East Maitland
Assistance Dogs AustraliaAssistance
1800 668 364
Leanne HoogwerfAssistance dogs
0407 481 328


South Australia

Name Approved dog categoryContactLocation
Lions Hearing Dogs Hearing dogs
(08) 8388 7836

Western Australia

Name Approved dog categoryContactLocation
Guide Dogs Western Australia (operated by Visibility)Guide and assistance dogs
1800 847 466
Victoria Park


Name Approved dog categoryContactLocation
Guide Dogs Tasmania (operated by Visibility)Guide and assistance dogs
1800 484 333

Working with your dog

Working with a dog trained to do specific tasks and behaviours will assist your independence, prevent injuries and relapses, ensure support in a crisis, and generally increase your participation in the community. There are more than 100 tasks and behaviours that guide, hearing and assistance dogs can learn to assist people with everyday activities and keep them safe.

More information