Welcome to the pack!

IN PAWS WE TRUST offers a unique solution to help bridge the gap between individuals with disabilities and their access to high-quality Assistance Animals. We are committed to ensuring the best possible outcomes for both our participants and their animals.

We work one-on-one with Assistance Animal handlers to create meaningful bonds, giving confidence not just in how they interact but also in how they relate in public settings.

Our initiative has made an incredible difference in the lives of many individuals, giving them increased mobility, safety, autonomy and independence within the community.

IN PAWS WE TRUST is working hard every day to ensure the power of these relationships can continue to flourish and grow.

Selecting and Training an Assistance Animal

Self-training (or owner-training) an Assistance Animal with the help of a trainer is possible, but it is a significant undertaking that requires a large amount of time, dedication, and resources. It is also important to note that not every animal will be suitable for work as an Assistance Animal.

At IN PAWS WE TRUST, our qualified and experienced trainers are available to work with you to select your perfect prospective Assistance Animal. Selection of a prospect with a high likelihood of success is a science and is a task that should not be undertaken alone. Although Labradors and Golden Retrievers are common Assistance Animals, it is possible for virtually any species or breed to fulfil this role.

We have trainers who have successfully trained dogs, parrots, miniature horses and even cats for the role of Assistance Animal. We work within a strict set of professional standards aligned with the highest possible ethics.

Having only recruited the best trainers our country has to offer, we deliver the highest quality Assistance Animals possible each time. Not only do our trainers provide expert supports to handlers seeking to train their own Assistance Animal, but our steering committee provides ongoing advocacy support to ensure public access runs smoothly for all of our teams.

IN PAWS WE TRUST is accredited by the Working Animals Federation of Australia, allowing us to deliver a variety of additional services to, and on behalf of, our members, including knowledge building and community awareness campaigns.

If you wish to self-train an Assistance Animal, it is recommended to work with one of our qualified and experienced trainers who have professional experience in training Assistance Animals to the highest standards. Your trainer can provide guidance and support throughout the process, and can help ensure that the animal is being trained to the necessary standards.

Training an Assistance Animal requires consistent and well-planned training sessions, patience, and a lot of positive reinforcement. It is also important to keep in mind that Assistance Animal training can be expensive and may require a significant investment of time and money. Additionally, it’s important to have a good understanding of the laws and regulations that pertain to Assistance Animals in your area, as well as the rights of individuals with disabilities which our trainers are well versed in.

The Public Access Test

Where most training organisations have an informal procedure to determine when an Assistance Animal is ready for public access training, IN PAWS WE TRUST follow a formalised process under the auspices of the Working Animals Federation of Australia, delivering the Preliminary PAT (pPAT) which requires us to assess the practical skillset of the Assistance Animal team, as well as the theoretical knowledge of the handler.

This means that each and every animal undertaking training in public spaces is pre-assessed as meeting the requirements of Section 9(2)(C) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth). This ensures that the health and safety of the local community remains top priority whilst we train our Assistance Animals and their handlers to safely navigate their local area.

What does this mean for handlers?

Upon enrollment into the IN PAWS WE TRUST Assistance Animal Training program, our handlers are automatically provided with theoretical knowledge of vital factors such as infectious disease, WHS, animal body language and stress signals, Australian law and self-advocacy. We follow this up with providing a supportive atmosphere to implement and practice these new-found skills within pet-friendly spaces where we help you to hone your skills and ensure you are ready to meet our pPAT requirements. Once you pass the pPAT, you are ready to commence training in public. Think of the pPAT as being a practice PAT, making sure you and your animal are ready for the real thing!

Over a minimum of 12 months you will receive support from our expert trainers to ensure you will pass our Public Access Test (PAT) on the first try. The PAT is the best-practice method to assess suitability for an Assistance Animal partnership to work freely in public spaces. However, we have options available for individuals who have previously been members of other oragnisations and have a partially trained Assistance Animal already.

Our Membership

It is quite common for our self-trainers to trial a number of other organisations before joining IN PAWS WE TRUST. Although we are unable to accept paperwork from other organisations, we have a streamlined system to onboard new clients as soon as possible. We seek to provide the highest quality services available Australia-wide paired with delivering the highest possible level of support to our handlers and their Assistance Animals.

Once you complete the PAT our support doesn’t end there. Our handlers have access to 24/7 support through our moderated social media groups and ongoing contact with trainers whenever you need it.

IN PAWS WE TRUST also provides advocacy support to handlers who face discrimination or refusal of access in the community in areas such as healthcare, education, accommodation or public transport.

Learn more about applying to IN PAWS WE TRUST here.