IS PAD A REGISTERED ORGANISATION?
Yes, PAD is registered with the Office of Fair Trading in Queensland, as an Incorporated Association, but operates Australia wide. We are an endorsed Charity and Deductible Gift Recipient with the ACNC. We have an ABN, and our public access registered Handler Teams are covered by Public Liability Insurance, and the Association Members are covered by Volunteer Insurance.
HOW DO I APPLY?
Applying is a step-by-step process. You will also need to go to the Forms page on the website and complete the Application Questionnaire form online. Not everyone is suited to PAD & PAD is not suitable for everyone. Completing the Questionnaire helps us all work out if this is the Organisation for you, and if you will fit with our PAD family. Contact may take 5-15 working days. Once the initial inquiry process is completed, you will be provided with the Application forms to move to the next stage. At that time, you will require a Medical Referral for yourself, and a Vet recommendation stating your dog is fully vaccinated, and at a standard of health and well-being to work as an Assistance Dog.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Registration with PAD in 2022 is $500. When your dog meets Public Access Standard, you will be provided with a PAD jacket, and a digital ID Card, both of which remain the property of PAD. More importantly, we need to find out if you are suited to PAD, & if PAD will suit your needs. So please complete the Application Questionnaire online and we will be in touch. A response may take 5-15 working days.
DO ALL ASSOCIATION MEMBERS HAVE WWCC (BLUE CARDS)?
All Association Members are required to hold Blue Cards and sign the Responsible Persons Declaration, Code of Conduct & Safeguarding Persons Policy. Handlers are required to be eligible for a WWCC & apply for one if requested. All Handlers sign the Code of Conduct and agree to the Safeguarding Persons Policy, as well as the signing the Handler Responsible Persons Declaration, which includes declaring they are eligible to apply for a WWCC if requested. Handlers are not members of the Association.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A DOG TO BECOME AN ASSISTANCE DOG WITH PUBLIC ACCESS?
A dog must firstly have Vet clearance, then be trained to a specified standard. Once this standard is achieved the Team (both Dog and Handler) will be registered for Public Access Standard Training (PAST), when the standard is met and held, the Team will be Public Access Standard Assessed (PASA) and will be on probation for 12 months. Both the Handler and the Dog must not only maintain public access training standards during this period, but the Handler must also maintain the standards of the Association in relation to the Code of Conduct, Handler Agreement, and the Safeguarding Vulnerable Persons Policy as well as all other Handler policies, procedures, and by-laws.
ARE THERE SPECIAL RULES FOR THE TREATMENT OF A HANDLER AND THEIR ASSISTANCE DOG BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC?
Yes, Assistance Dogs and their Handlers are protected under Federal legislation, DDA 1992 and in some states, also under state legislation. Acts that prevent or interfere with an Assistance Dog Team working may be considered Discrimination for which there are penalties. It is very important that Teams are left alone to go about their lives without distraction, interruption or interference from the general public. When a Team is interrupted there is a risk that a medical episode may be triggered, or not pre-empted, because the Team - Handler and Dog – are not able to focus on each other. The following documents describe the etiquette for people to follow when Teams are in public. These documents can be downloaded and displayed in prominent locations to notify the general public of the etiquette requirements.
I HAVE NOT HAD A RESPONSE TO MY MESSAGE/EMAIL?
PAD is a volunteer Administered Association. We try to respond between 5-15 working days. If you have not completed the Application Questionnaire, we will not respond. We do not have the time to keep asking for the required processes to be followed, and you not providing it indicates to us that your inquiry is not sincere. If you have requested the forms, be emailed to you, please confirm your legal name, email address and phone number, so we can check our information is correct.
WHAT LEGISLATION DOES PAD USE?
As Self Training Handlers, registered with PAD, Teams come under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, which overrides all state legislation. The Disability Ombudsman in each state, provides legal advice and support for anyone who is discriminated in any way, including for using this legislation as their assessment standards.
HOW ARE HANDLER TEAMS SUPPORTED BY THE ASSOCIATION?
PAD is a family. We support each other through Meet Ups, a Closed Chat Group, Representatives and Mentors in the primary regions, online and in person training assistance and support, and by encouraging Handler Teams to meet for socialisation and public training together. Handlers registered for Public Access are covered by Public Liability Insurance. We have built relationships with Dog Trainers and Working Gear companies to make life easier for the Teams. We write Access and Integration Plans for workplaces and education environments, and advocate for our Handlers when they need additional support.
HOW DOES PAD RESPOND TO COVID?
PAD has a COVID QR check in Code which is used at all meetings. For 2022 and the foreseeable future, our meetings will be held in open spaces such as parks. We request anyone who suspects they may be COVID positive or has been a close contact, refrains from attending meetings till they are cleared. Many PAD Handlers are masked exempt, we expect all Teams and visitors to respect each other’s space even when outdoors.
WHAT ARE GOOD BREEDS OF DOGS FOR AN ASSISTANCE DOG?
As a general rule, PAD does not accept pure bred working breeds, e.g., Cattle Dogs, Border Collies and other high drive breeds; or guarding type dogs like Maremma, timid breeds can also be problematic. However, we are open to considering if the breed is appropriate to the potential Handler’s own needs, and if the drive in the dog matches the fitness of the Handler. We also assess rescue dogs on a case-by-case basis, dependent on the known history medically as well as emotionally. Overall, we look at the needs of the Handler, the capabilities of the Team to commit to and achieve a training standard, and the appropriateness of the environment the dog will be raised in.
WHAT EQUIPMENT WILL I NEED, DOES PAD USE?
PAD does not specify the working equipment that you train your dog in. We recommend you follow the lead of your professional trainer in this regard. You do need to consider the Public Access jacket that will be worn over any gear you have on your dog. We will not accept prong collars or electric shock training devices be used by Handlers. Training must come from the bond, leadership and consistency, through positive reinforcement and not through punishment. Any violence towards the dog will not be accepted. We do recommend tethering, especially for Minors or those with physical difficulties in addition to the main lead that is directing your dog, but it not a requirement. We do expect the dogs to be restrained appropriately in vehicles, and not in a manner that puts the dog at increased risk of injury in an accident.
WHAT TRAINING IS REQUIRED?
As a Self-Training Handler, you choose the degree of Professional Training you require. We recommend at minimum that you attend Puppy School, especially if you have never owned a dog before. After this, you chose your training pace. Some Handlers find they need a lot of professional help to keep them on track with the training goals. Others find intermittent sessions sufficient. PAD does not set how many Professional Sessions a Team must attend. We assess the Team according to the Public Access Standards. However, a Team that cannot reach Public Access Standard after two years, will not be re-registered. This shows that either the Handler is not committed to training, or the dog is not suited to be an AD. There are special circumstance considerations due to COVID at this time of course.
DOES THE ASSOCIATION GHAD CERTIFY?
No. We are not a GHAD training organisation. GHAD is a Queensland based certification, called PAT, for public access tested dogs, under the state legislation. PAD functions under the Federal legislation, and as an Australian wide association, not all our Handlers are based in Queensland. We do not PAT test or certify our Teams; we use a more stringent assessment involving both dog and Handler to ensure a national standard.
WHY DOES PAD MAKE HANDLERS SIGN SO MANY FORMS?
PAD was established to create a high standard of compliance, assessment, support and mentoring in a protected community for vulnerable persons. Many of our Teams, and families involve either minors or vulnerable persons. We have set the standard where all Association Members must hold WWCC and all Handlers over 18yrs must be eligible to hold one. This ensures our Teams are in as protected an environment as we can provide. Anyone not prepared to sign our standards forms, are not suited to PAD, nor PAD suited to them. We are ok with that. We are not about numbers, we are about community, support and safety.