Service Dog Australia has a certification process that is able to certify privately owned dogs as ‘service dogs’. However for a privately owned and trained dog to be certified the requirements are stringent and all parameters would need to be met simply to be eligible at the outset.

The certification process extends over 6 months in which time the training standards set out by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) will be attained. This will entail weekly training with a private qualified trainer. The successful applicant will have met all the requirements exactly as though it were a dog straight from Service Dog Australia.

Although the number of hours varies depending per the category type of assistance dog it will have fully completed these and of course the dog will never show out of place aggression and never bite.

These may appear to be relatively easy on the surface to attain yet that is far from the case. The difficulty is shown in the high number of candidates not being able to pass the requirements successfully.

It is of no surprise then, that Service Dog Australia puts all applicants on notice that they do not train the dogs for you, but rather that the certification program affirms that you have successfully trained your dog in full compliance with standards maintained at Service Dogs Australia. Accordingly, quite in addition to all guidance, lessons and advice from them, it is up to the owners to train their dogs in full.

Any further training that the owner may perceive necessary for their dog to attain certification can be arranged by way of a separate, tailored program also available at Service Dogs.

People wishing to purchase their own dogs and require full assistance in how to train their dogs will find ready help from Service Dogs, however they do not themselves provide fully trained dogs – that is by way of the owners or from other outside sources.

Eligibility guidelines

To see if you and your dog might be eligible for private certification, please revue the outline below.

A medically documented disability must characterize you or your child
18 months is the minimum age a dog must be in this program.
The upper age limit as in ‘senior dogs’ will apply and dogs nearing this age are unlikely to receive certification.
Persuasive evidence must be produced that a Service dog will provide a benefit for the disabled that a normal pet would not provide.
Daily training must be undertaken.
Surgical sterilization of your dog is a prerequisite to entrance into this program.
Full vaccinations likewise are a prerequisite.
An out of shape or overweight dog will not be considered. It must be fit and healthy.
Your dog must display complete readiness to obey commands.

If your dog and you meet all these requirements then by all means you are encouraged to apply for entrance. However please know Servicedog.org.au does not guarantee success merely in acceptance into the certification process.

Please note acceptance into the certification program must proceed anything else. Service Dog cannot advise, or offer training advice prior to acceptance.

An ineligible dog due to being still too young yet still needs a trainer can be be helped – Service Dog will suggest trainers. These can assist in preparing the dog for entrance into the program though not directly training it as an assistance dog.

Finally please be aware that Service Dog cannot make exceptions and alter the requirements in the program to suit individual needs.

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