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Assistance Dogs Australia was established as a non-profit organisation in 1996 with a committed Mission: to enhance the quality of life for people with physical disabilities.

Assistance Dogs Australia obtains, trains and maintains dogs in community settings to assist people with their disabilities, to give them more confidence and to help them achieve a greater level of independence.

The Assistance Dogs are fully trained to specific standards and provided to disabled recipients free of charge. Each Assistance Dog costs the organisation approx. $20,000, which covers the two year training period and follow up support.

The Program has five main elements: breeding/puppy acquisition, foster puppy raising, intensive dog training, "team" training and annual handler/dog accreditation. The Labrador and Golden Retriever puppies are placed with volunteer foster puppy raisers for an 18 month period and then go to the Assistance Dogs training centre for a further 6 months intensive training.

Assistance Dogs are trained over this 2 year period to perform specific tasks that will help their disabled recipients. These tasks include opening and closing doors, turning light switches on and off, pressing pedestrian crossing buttons, retrieving and picking items off the floor - tasks that are difficult or near impossible for people confined in a wheelchair. They can also bark for assistance, if required.

Assistance Dogs are already making a dramatic difference in the quality of life for individuals with physical disabilities. Not only do they assist them physically, but also these special dogs relieve loneliness and social isolation, helping their owners integrate more with their local communities. This increase in independence allows them to get on with their lives, often attending college, getting employment or just mixing more.


The Pups in Prison program supports ADA by setting the foundations for the dogs to progress to advanced training and shapes as a most promising venture from which both inmates and the physically disabled will benefit. The program was launched November 2002 by Corrective Services Minister Richard Amery. Two pups underwent an intensive three-stage program over 18 months at the minimum security correctional centre at Kirkconnell 28km east of Bathurst NSW. The program was very successful and they have taken on three more pups.

We also now have two more Pups in Prisons programs running in addition to Kirkconnell Correctional Centre including Darling Downs and Junee Correctional Centres.

We have currently placed over 85 dogs all around Australia. We have over 40 dogs currently in training, twelve of which are pups in prison. Assistance Dogs is currently helping over 180 people in Australia.

And an Assistance Dog can save the community significant monies by reducing the attendant care needs of their disabled recipients.

Assistance Dogs Australia has an ambitious training program ahead and has to rely on corporate, community and individual funding to achieve its goals. The charity requires significant funding to achieve its goal of placing at least 30 dogs per year with disabled recipients and needs your help.


Volunteers are the backbone of many charity organisations and ours is no exception. We are a small friendly team that would welcome the opportunity to involve you in Assistance Dogs Australia as a volunteer.

We are looking for volunteers in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Canberra. There are a variety of exciting and rewarding volunteer positions available in the following areas, Puppy Raising, Puppy Sitting, Puppy Socialising and Bed & Breakfast.

Puppy Raising 
Would you like a dog but don't want to commit to 14 years? THEN WHY NOT PUPPY RAISE! Raise a puppy in your home for approximately 18 months to help give someone a better quality of life.

Volunteer Duties
- Full benefits of the Assistance Dogs Australia Program
- Attend Training classes with other Puppy Raisers with ongoing support
- Raise the dog for up to 18 months
- Attend Assistance Dogs Australia events where required, or make their puppy available to Assistance Dogs staff

Puppy Sitting   
Volunteer Duties

- Short term holiday and weekend cover while regular Puppy Raisers are away
- Weekends or periods of a few days to a few weeks
- Peak periods such as Easter and Christmas public and School holiday are highly desirable

Puppy Socialisers
Volunteer Duties

- Have a puppy from  8 weeks of age
- Time Period : 4-8 weeks
- Toilet / Crate Training
- Basic Manners (ADA guidance)

CRITERIA: have good dog knowledge and an understanding of the critical socialization phases of the puppy

Bed & Breakfast     
Volunteer Duties

- Adult dogs in Advanced Training
- Take on the B&B for one of our dogs on a regular basis
- Overnight & weekend accommodation
- Provide us with feedback on the dog in the home
Basic Requirements
Must be over 18 years of age 
Time - needed for training 
Space - appropriate yard (fenced off)
Care - must be able to spend most of your time with the dog
Puppy must sleep indoors
No children under school age
Can have other pets but is best if only one other well trained/socialised dog
Complete reporting requirements
For puppy socialising must understand the socialisation period
For Bed and Breakfast must be an experienced dog person 

Further Information


Assistance Dogs Australia
P.O. Box 455
Engadine NSW 2233

Toll Free: 1800 688 364
Phone: 02 9548 3355
Fax:  02 9548 3766
Registered Charity Number CFN 15453

Assistance Dogs Australia

Last Update: 04/08/09 10:32 Views: 7385

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