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Assistance and Therapy Dogs

About us


Dogtraining101 has been around for quite some time now and have helped thousands of owners with everything from puppies to aggressive dogs.  During this time we have found that many of our clients have turned to us for help with their assistance dog training or therapy dog training.  This was due to lacking of support or knowledge from the organisations that were supposed to help them.  With the vast majority being charities it meant that our clients were dealing with volunteers who really didn't understand their dogs or needs.  For myself the final straw were clients not knowing where to turn for help or left dangling paying exorbitant fees for help. 

In 2023 I found out myself as the owner that I had adult ADHD and how much dogs help me in my everyday.  This is where Sensor dogs has been born.  We already have the infrastructure, Knowledge and network to assist clients in SEQ. 

This year in 2023 our first dogs will be certified. Sensor Dogs operates under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 which guarantees public access for all dogs trained as assistance dogs.

We are not Guide, Hearing or physical disability assistance dogs.

What do we do?

A Sensor Dog is a psychiatric assistance dog. An assistance dog (also known as a service dog) is covered by the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992. An assistance dog is trained to assist their handler in public and is guaranteed access to all public places including shopping centres, hospitals, public transport and restaurants. According to this Act, an assistance dog is trained to alleviate the effect of a disability and must meet standards of hygiene and behaviour.

For individuals suffering with a mental health disorder and a dog, Sensor Dogs will test that dog to see if it is suitable to be an assistance dog.  We then help train both of you and work towards certification as an assistance dog.

This can mean an enormous change for those who suffer conditions that have previously meant they could not go in public places or access public transport.

Pre Requisites

Before your dog can become a sensor dog there are some fundamentals you both have to know. How good is your dog at basic obedience? Does she sit on command? Will she drop and stay? If you are in a busy place with lots of distractions, does she come when you call her? Will she walk calmly beside you on a loose lead without pulling or lunging? How is she with kids or other dogs? Does she bark frantically if she’s excited?

Being a complete organisation we can help you from the moment you start with us as we encompass all aspects of training as well.  Before you are able to go out in public you will need to have all these under control.  Talk to the team today and we can get you started.

 Already have this under control? Then you can pay for an assessment and we can see where you are at and take it from there.

The Process Involved


Applying for an assistance dog is not something that should be taken lightly and requires a significant amount of support and time from you and your future Sensor Dog.

We do not accept dogs that have been declared menacing or dangerous.  We do not accept dogs that are restricted breeds or band in Australia or particular states.  We reserve the right to say no to any dog we deem unsuitable.

Before you apply please ensure you understand the care and hygiene requirements for your dog listed via the menu, that your Dog must be over 6 months of age and desexed, and you are prepared for the commitment required to go on this journey.

Please contact our admin team on 0424364101 and they will be able to assist with sending you an application and letting you know if there are spots available.


Our application fee for Sensor Dogs are used to cover the admin costs associated with filing, storing, processing etc of setting up an applicant. This is separate to any other training with Dogtraining101 in preparation for this.  The application fee ($500) includes your assessment to ensure your dog is suitable - your Handlers ID - Your Training vest to go in Public and Periodic assessments.  This is non refundable and is per application.  Your PAT testing fee ($250) includes up to 2 hours to do the test with an assessor and costs associated with admin.  If you fail the PAT test you will need to pay this fee again to reattempt the test.  Each year you will need to be recertified ($200) to ensure public access.

Your training outside of this is at a discounted rate with Dogtraining101.  Each 1hr lesson for Sensor dogs is $147 (Normally $177 (cheaper in Packs)).  You will also be able to attend on the outside of classes for free as long as you have your jacket on your dog - this is purely to assist in counterconditioning in public around other dogs and no tuition is provided during this.  You would need to contact our admin team for this. (Please note if you wish to do these classes you are able to pay to do them otherwise the tuition for these is as private lessons)

Training Records

As part of the process we need to keep a variety of records to ensure you are progressing in your Journey.  We will already have your training records on file as you train with dogtraining101 but you will also need to complete individual records every 2 months so you know where you are at.  At about the 6 month mark an assessor will visit to see how you are going - this is included in the price of the application fee.  You will receive correspondence for each of these time periods.  For access to your workplace this will need to be done with your trainer to help you appropriately condition them to that environment.

The Process

Application and Training Fees


Public Access Testing Fees

Caring for your Sensor Dog


Appearance includes: A clean brushed coat, with no staining on the face. A clean vest. Simply wipe the vest.

A Sensor Dogs hygiene is important as a Sensor Dog can be refused access to places if they have poor hygiene. This is outlined in the Disability Discrimination Act.


A healthy diet is a fresh diet. Foods that are good for your dog health can include foods like sardines, raw meaty bones, raw chicken (such as chicken carcass, chicken wings, drumsticks, necks), veggies (such as  chopped carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato and broccoli). This helps the dogs to maintain a healthy weight. An inexpensive tin of sardines every day will provide the essential fatty acids that dogs need. Bones need meat on them. 

Make sure that any fresh food you give your dog, including meat, is human grade. Animal grade meat based pet foods often contain unacceptable chemicals and contaminants.

Also some human foods are highly toxic to dogs including but not limited to chocolate, macadamia nuts, avocado, grapes and onions. Use common sense when giving your dog “treats”.

Do NOT put your dog on a vegan diet. While being a vegan can be a healthy choice for a human, dogs are carnivores whose digestive system has developed for raw meat.

Vegan dogs may appear outwardly healthy but they are often undersized and listless. To do the every day work of a sensor dog, your dog needs the energy it can only get from an appropriate quality meat based diet.

Forcing your dog to be a vegan is grounds for being withdrawn from the program.


Brushing is a good way to keep your dog clean, freshen their coat, clear out old hair and dead skin cells and promote good health.

You can purchase a dog brush from any pet supply store or your vet. Please ask a shop assistant or your vet for advice if you are unsure of what brush is appropriate for your dog.

If your dog is healthy and regularly brushed, frequent bathing should be unnecessary. Every now and then your dog may become smelly, especially if they roll in something. If they do it is essential wash your dog as an unclean, smelly Dog will not be welcome in public places. You can find suitable shampoos at a pet supply store or your vet clinic. Please do not use human shampoo as it can cause irritation to your dogs skin.

Ear Care

It is important to keep your dog’s ears clean, dirty ears are often a cause of infection particularly in dogs with floppy ears.

You can do this by wiping your dog’s ears with a soft tissue or soft damp cloth. You can purchase appropriate products to clean your dog’s ears from a pet supply store or your vet. Don’t ever clean your dog’s ears with a cotton bud as it can damage their ears.

Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is important for your dog and is dependent on their diet.

Good teeth are essential for your dog’s longevity. Raw meaty bones are a good way in ensuring your dog has good teeth. If your dog’s breath is smelly or he refuses to eat please take them to your vet.

Nail Care

It is important to ensure that your Dog’s nails are not too long. If you are hesitant to cut your dogs nails or are not sure how to do them correctly, please consult your vet or a groomer. You should never use human nail clippers or scissors.

They can give you painful scratches, catch on loose materials and tear out of his paw, or adversely affect the way he walks. You can purchase special nail clippers from your vet or pet supply stores. You should never cut through the quick of the dog’s nail. This is living tissue which can bleed profusely and cause your dog extreme pain.

Care of yor Dog

Flying with your Sensor Dog

Under the Civil Aviation Act, airlines are able to legally refuse access to assistance dogs if they believe the dog is a threat to the safety of the plane.

Sensor Dog only approves of certified dogs flying after their first successful PAT and with experience traveling on public transport. This will ensure that the dog is familiar with many different situations, people in narrow spaces and to be settled for an extended amount of time.

Most airlines are straightforward to deal with.  But you must plan in advance and contact them with plenty of time. They will all want a copy of your current PAT and your ID card, Medical Letter, Vet Letter and proof of your training which we keep copies of. You can get these by calling Sensor Dog on  0424364101 or emailing

At the moment QANTAS does not accept assistance dogs. We hope this will change in the future.


Federal Laws



Under the Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 amended 2009 (hereafter DDA) all assistance dogs are guaranteed access to all public places in Australia.

According to the DDA, if your assistance dog is appropriately trained and certified to assist you, and meets acceptable standards of hygiene and behaviour, than access to public spaces and services is guaranteed.

This Part does not render it unlawful for a person (the discriminator ) to discriminate against the person with the disability on the ground of the disability, if:

  1. the discriminator reasonably suspects that the assistance animal has an infectious disease; AND

  2. the discrimination is reasonably necessary to protect public health or the health of other animals.

You are also obliged to produce evidence that your dog is a legitimate assistance animal when asked.

Following successful completion of the Public Access Test, Sensor Dog will give your dog an identity card. This will carry his picture and provide evidence that he is certified; however, this does not mean you will have a trouble-free experience.

Places used by the public include:
  • Public footpaths and walkways

  • Banks, credit unions, building societies

  • Hotels, motels, rental accommodation

  • Social and sporting clubs

  • Educational institutions

  • Parks, public swimming pools, public toilets and pedestrian malls

  • Theaters and other places of entertainment

  • Libraries

  • Shops and departments stores

  • Cafes, restaurants and pubs

  • Lawyers’ offices and legal services

  • Sporting venues


Your access rights to housing and accommodation are protected under the DDA whether it is public or private. Hotels and motels usually appreciate being told in advance that you will have your Sensor Dog with you.

Landlords often do not know that your rights are covered under the DDA and it may be necessary to educate them. In a rental situation the law does not require that you tell a prospective landlord or agent that you have an assistance dog. However, ultimately, things tend to a go a lot smoother if you do. Who needs the stress of fighting a new landlord when you’ve just moved in and he discovers you have a dog?
Tell them you have an assistance dog and if you think you’ve been refused a rental because of it, tell us.

The DDA takes precedence over other laws including state laws and local council regulations. The sole exception is The Civil Aviation Act 1988 (CAA), which contains a clause allowing an airline to refuse to carry an assistance animal or assistance dog if the airline has genuine concern that the size of the dog will be a danger on the flight.

The DDA spells out your rights and responsibilities as a mindDog handler.

Carer, assistant, assistance animal and disability aid definitions:


For the purposes of this Act, a carer or assistant, in relation to a person with a disability, is one of the following who provides assistance or services to the person because of the disability:

  • a carer

  • an assistant

  • an interpreter

  • a reader

For the purposes of this Act, an assistance animal is a dog or other animal:

  • accredited under a law of a State or Territory that provides for the accreditation of animals trained to assist a persons with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability; or

  • accredited by an animal training organisation prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph; or

  • trained:

    • to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability; and

    • to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place.

Note: For exemptions from Part 2 for discrimination in relation to assistance animals, see section 54A.

For the purposes of this Act, a carer or assistant, in relation to a person with a disability, is one of the following who provides assistance or services to the person because of the disability:

  • is used by the person; and

  • provides assistance to alleviate the effect of the disability.

Having a carer, assistant, assistance animal or disability aid, the following table has effect:


For the purposes of this act, a person with a disability has…if the person…

a carer or assistant is presently accompanies by the carer or assistant; or


was previously accompanied by the carer or assistant; or

may be accompanied by the carer or assistant in the future; or

is imputed to be accompanied by the carer or assistant.

an assistance animal or disability aidis presently accompanies by the carer or assistant; or


was previously accompanied by the carer or assistant; or

may be accompanied by the carer or assistant in the future; or

is imputed to be accompanied by the carer or assistant.

Human Rights Commission


If you do have a problem and you and your dog are refused access to an area or service, the Human Rights Commission has a very straightforward method for making a complaint. You can do this on their web site and the whole process can be done by email if that suits you. Alternatively, you can contact us and we can advise you or assist you to make a complaint.

Two of the best ways to avoid trouble is to make sure that your dog is always wearing his mindDog vest when you go out together. If you are going somewhere that you haven’t been before, it may help to call ahead and let them know you are coming. This can make all the difference in the world. Most people don’t like surprises and if you are met with a bad reaction to your dog, it can be embarrassing and humiliating. Always remember that you and your dog do have rights.

Below is a list of state legislations. Please note that the DDA trumps State law.

Disability Discrimination Act

QLD Specific Legislation


Queensland is the only state to have a specific law covering assistance dogs — The Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 (GHADA).

The QLD specific legislation is more restrictive than the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act in that it :

  • Restricts assistance dogs access to ambulances.

  • Restricts access to food preparation areas. This means kitchens, it doesn’t apply to the public spaces of restaurants and cafes.

  • Authorizes only approved organisations and individuals to certify assistance dogs.

The GHADA was written in 2009 before the development of psychiatric assistance dogs and thus, is heavily skewed toward physical assistance dogs.

Sensor Dog operates under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). The definition of an assistance dog, as stated in the DDA is;

  • (2) For the purposes of this Act, an assistance animal is a dog or other animal:

      • (a) accredited under a law of a State or Territory that provides for the accreditation of animals trained to assist a persons with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability; or

      • (b) accredited by an animal training organisation prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph; or

      • (c) trained:

        • (i) to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability; and

        • (ii) to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place.

It is important to know that the GHADA contains a note referring to the DDA in Part 3 section (3):
Note —
A person with a disability may also have a right of action under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cwlth).

Essentially, this means that the QLD law recognises the power of the federal law.

Federal Laws



Sometimes you and your Sensor Dog will be denied access to places that your are entitled to go. Here's what you can do.


Public Access Rights with your Sensor Dog

If you are experiencing access denial issues, please contact the Australian Human Rights Commission on the following link to lodge a formal complaint.

Human Rights Commission

Summary of your rights

The rights of a person with an Assistance Dog are protected under Federal Law through the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA 1992). The DDA recognises that a suitably trained Assistance Animal is a tool facilitating the functioning of a person with a disability, similar to a wheelchair. The DDA recognises both physical and psychosocial disabilities and acknowledges that an Assistance Animal can assist in either case. The DDA allows qualified Assistance Dogs to accompany their handler into all public spaces. The only exceptions to this may be spaces in which a person’s disability is being addressed by other means, or areas with stringent sterility requirements, for example:

  • Specific Clinical Settings

  • Surgically sterilised areas

  • Industrial food preparation areas (kitchens)

  • Quarantined areas

Access Issues

Therapy Dogs

What is a Therapy Dog?


We all know that dogs make the best of friends, but they can also help to heal people in the most unexpected ways.

Therapy Dogs can reach out to people who may not be responding as well to other forms of therapy. Therapy Dogs can break down barriers and bring joy to people in their own adorable and loving way.

Their presence — and their affection — can give comfort and support to people of all ages who are feeling anxious or low in mood.

Therapy Dogs can work in places like hospitals, palliative care, dementia wards, aged care facilities, and mental health facilities. They are handled by a trained allied health therapist or medical professional.

Therapy Dogs help human participants to be calm and engaged in the therapy process. Some of the magic of Therapy Dogs can be explained by their ability to:


● Make people feel more connected to nature.
● Build a sense of motivation in the client that is driven by personal satisfaction, rather than external factors like rewards or punishment.
● Promote a hormone called oxytocin which is associated with empathy and relationship-building. It is commonly referred to as the “love hormone”.
● Motivate clients to attend and participate in therapy sessions.
● Help clients balance their emotions.
● Drive social interactions.

Sometimes, all a Therapy Dog has to do in a session is to give cuddles or sit by the client.

That does not mean that any dog can become a Therapy Dog.

Among other qualities, a Therapy Dog should be calm and sociable around strangers, not be frightened by loud noises and easily adjust to different environments. They are able to ignore distractions and love to be petted.

A Therapy Dog is not an Assistance Dog, as Therapy Dogs are not trained to give specific health-related support.

Therapy dogs still need to go thru the same training as assistance dogs though, as they will still be in surroundings that require control in a variety of settings.  The price of this training is the same per costs as the assistance dogs.  You are certified by us being able to complete certain tasks in a variety of situations.  This is retested every year.


Therapy Dogs
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