Service and Therapy Animals Australia Ltd. has developed the essential standards for Therapy Dogs placed in schools, aged care, hospitals, private practices, and other workplaces.
Recognised Dog Terms – Across Australia
The term ‘Therapy Dog’
For ease of reference, we use the term Therapy Dog as a general term encompassing Therapy Dogs, Facility Dogs (subcatagory of Therapy Dogs) and Visitation Dogs. Although the terms Wellbeing Dog and School Support Dog are used within the community, these are not formally recognised terms or categories in Australia.
Therapy Dog Standards
Appropriate Dog Breeds
It is important to be aware that not all dogs, regardless of breed, are suitable for Therapy Dog work. Likewise, it is inappropriate to simply bring a dog and place it in a workplace or institution without being compliant with all the Service Animals Australia Essential Standards for Therapy Dogs including appropriate formal therapy dog training. Doing so could negatively impact occupational health and safety and be detrimental to the welfare of the animal.
Therapy Dog Placements
Placing and integrating a Therapy Dog
Placing and integrating a Therapy Dog into a workplace and or institution involves significant planning and requires a thorough approach.
A hasty approach to the planning, training and integration will result in an oversight of key elements. These may seem insignificant in the short term but create unnecessary problems that ultimately lead to the failure of the program.
Responsible Approach to Integration
A responsible approach to placing and integrating a Therapy Dog is a process that requires outside support and expertise to ensure that all aspects of the Service Animals Australia Essential Standards for Therapy Dogs have been met and that best practice is maintained.