WHAT WE DO!
Empower Assistance Dogs enhance quality of life and independence for people with disabilities by providing professionally trained and government certified guide, hearing and assistance dogs. They are the first organisation that is government certified to train all three types of service dogs – guide, hearing and assistance dogs. The organisation achieves this through a program of selecting, raising and training dogs to assist disabled people with everyday tasks.
Guide, Hearing and Assistance dogs are trained to enhance the quality of life of vision or hearing impaired, and/or physically or mentally challenged persons whilst still maintaining as much independence for the handler. This means that the dog will be a permanent working companion for the disabled handler and will assist with a myriad of guide, noise alert or task work but whilst still having the handler work and interact as much as physically or mentally possible. In many cases, a secondary handler will be necessary to help with health, hygiene and exercise and to give play and environmental enrichment to the dog.
applying for a guide, hearing or assistance dog
If you are wanting to enquire about receiving one of our government certified Guide, Hearing or Assistance Dogs, we must first have you fill out our Initial Contact Form to ensure that you meet both our internal criteria and also the criteria of the Qld. Govt. Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dog Act 2009. You will need to contact Head Office to gain access to this form. We will have a conversation with you to ensure you meet the criteria before we send you the form as it takes us time to analyse additional paperwork that may not comply. By having a conversation we can ensure that we are the right fit for you and your family to assist you in your journey of being partnered with a working service dog partner.
If you meet criteria, we can then progress to a face to face interview. Throughout this interview, we are able to assess your individual needs that will be taken into consideration when training a dog to be partnered with you. You will also be able to have any of your questions answered which is a very important part of the process. You need to fully understand the requirements of living with a service dog and the ongoing maintenance and support....we don't provide dogs that have been implanted with computer chips in their brains. Our dogs require specific handling to ensure they maintain their reliability for their partners, therefore this is a responsibility and commitment from you when you undertake being partnered with one of our dogs.
The process can take from birth of the puppy through to 1.5 to 2 years to complete the process of training, transitioning to handler and certifying a working service dog. It is not a quick event and you will need to have patience and understanding that it will be worth the wait!
Some Assistance Dog Tasks are as follows:
Retrieving dropped or wanted items
Retrieving the phone
Help with taking items or retrieving items to or from shop counter
Helping to carry some shopping items
Opening and closing doors and cupboards
Opening and retrieving items from the fridge
Pulling washing out of the machine or dryer if front loader
Undressing help with clothing such as shoes, socks and jumpers
'Get Help' if handler in trouble or needs assistance
Press traffic lights and lift buttons
Brace to assist owner from ground back to chair
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Breeding, raising and training Guide, Hearing and Assistance dogs is a very labour intensive endeavour and it usually takes between 1.5 to 2 years and between $25,000 to $55,000 to train and transition a qualified Guide, Hearing or Assistance dog depending on the particular dog that is required. We receive no government funding so we rely on the generosity of individuals and businesses or organisations.
You can help by donating!
$30 will help supply a collar and lead for a learner puppy
$50 will help supply flea and tick control products
$100 will help pay for puppy veterinary needs
OUR TRAINING TIMELINE
Lots of Hard Work
Whilst producing an assistance or hearing dog is definitely hard work, it is also extremely rewarding to watch candidate dogs empower their disabled recipients to gain greater independence and quality of life. The amount of work needed is dependent upon the needs of the recipient and the speed and understanding that each individual dog possesses.
There are many important lessons for the candidate assistance or hearing dog to learn to become a government certified assistance or hearing dog. These include public access training which involves ensuring the dogs have great manners and minimal impact on all other members of society including other animals. There is also a massive amount of differing tasks that can be required and all must be done with extreme reliability regardless of distraction or environmental factors.
A New Home
When the candidate assistance or hearing dog is being readied throughout its training program, we prefer to have a handler share in the interaction and transition training so that when the new dog goes to the new home the greatest synergy is achieved between dog, recipient and home environment.
OWNER COACHED ASSISTANCE DOGS
The Industry has been evolving for some time now and there are so many people with disability needing help that may have not followed the conservative path of sourcing a fully trained guide, hearing or assistance dog through an organisation, rather due to desperation, they have chosen to go down the path of trying to train their own dogs to take on the assistance dog role. We are now offering an ‘Owner Coached Assistance Dog’ Training Course but there is a very strict criteria for anyone wishing to undertake this course to ensure they have a suitable dog with the correct attributes to be able to comfortably undertake the role of a working assistance dog and provide task work to their handler.
Empower Assistance Dogs are now looking to help by providing regular face to face coaching, training and support to ensure that these privately-owned dogs are reaching the necessary level that is required to gain their government certification. Of course, this course has an initial assessment process that must be undertaken to ensure that the dog is a suitable candidate for the job at hand and also that it is capable of meeting the requirements of the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dog Legislation and Public Access Test. Under the legislation, not only does the dog and handler have to undergo a Public Access Test conducted by an approved trainer or training organisation, the dog must also do 3 identifiable physical tasks or behaviours to assist their handler to reduce their need for support.
Our ‘Owner Coached Assistance Dog’ Training Course has strict criteria for anyone wishing to undertake this course to ensure they have a suitable dog with the correct attributes to be able to comfortably undertake the role of a working assistance dog.
Your dog must have the following:
Well socialised to people & other animals and dogs
No fears, phobias or startle responses to noise or visual stimuli
Good overall health condition – veterinary letter required
No unnecessary barking
Under 2.5 years of age
To enquire about this course, please go to the contact us page on this website and send through your details of you and your dog so we can contact you. We have limited positions on this particular course so that we can ensure we give each of our participants the necessary training and support that is required for them to succeed and gain their government certification.