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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.

Queensland

Name Approved dog categoryContactLocation
Compass Assistance Dogs Assistance dogs

assistancedogs@compassinc.org.au
(07) 5445 9116

Hunchy
Association of Australian Assistance Dogs Assistance dogs

mail@asdogsnq.com.au
(07) 4092 3344

Mareeba
Australian Companion and Assistance Dogs Assistance dogs

assist@acad.org.au
0499 222 330

Peregian Springs
Canine Helpers for the Disabled Assistance dogs

info@caninehelpers.org.au
(07) 5432 4498

Caboolture
Empower Assistance Dogs Guide, hearing and assistance dogs

admin@empowerassistancedogs.org.au
(07) 3200 5421

Loganlea
Guide Dogs Queensland Guide dogs

admin@guidedogsqld.com.au
1800 810 122

Bald Hills
In the Paws of Angels Assistance dogs

inthepawsofangelsinc@icloud.com
0412 138 151

Beachmere
K9 Tales Assistance dogs

info@k9tales.com.au
0478 600 379

Diamond Valley
Kylie Smith Assistance dogs

kylie@elitecanines.com.au
0409 789 549

Palmwoods
Positive Response Dog Training Assistance dogs

info@positiveresponse.net.au
(07) 3459 2121

Thornlands
Smart Pups Assistance Dogs Guide, hearing and assistance dogs

enquiries@smartpups.org.au
(07) 5485 0031

Pomona
Stapell Working Dog Guide dogs

hello@stapell.com.au
0402 992 114

Bracken Ridge

Victoria

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

info@cstda.com.au
0458 458 541

Caulfield
South
Emelia Wilmot Assistance dogs

paws4assistance@gmail.com
0414 477 772

Glenroy
Guide Dogs Victoria Guide dogs

info@guidedogsvictoria.com.au
1800 804 805

Kew
Helen Read Assistance dogs

clevercanines03@gmail.com
0415 833 508

Geelong area
Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs Guide dogs

info@seda.org.au
1800 037 773

Kensington

New South Wales

NameApproved dog categoryContactLocation
Integra Service Dogs AustraliaAssistance dogsenquiries@isda.com.au
0412 547 889
Michelago
Miracle Assistance DogsHearing and assistance dogsinfo@miracleassistancedogs.org.au
0409 343 051
East Maitland
Assistance Dogs AustraliaAssistance dogsinfo@assistancedogs.org.au
1800 668 364
Engadine

South Australia

Name Approved dog categoryContactLocation
Lions Hearing Dogs Hearing dogs info@lionshearingdogs.com.au
(08) 8388 7836
Verdun

Western Australia

Name Approved dog categoryContactLocation
Guide Dogs Western Australia (operated by Visibility)Guide and assistance dogs info@guidedogswa.com.au
1800 847 466
Victoria Park

Tasmania

Name Approved dog categoryContactLocation
Guide Dogs Tasmania (operated by Visibility)Guide and assistance dogs info@guidedogstas.com.au
1800 484 333
Hobart

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