Therapy &
Facility Dogs

Therapy Dogs

A Therapy Dog is usually owned by a pet owner that has a desire to volunteer their time to give back to the community by doing visits to different places with their dog to provide a warm and enjoyable experience to the client. To join the Empower Therapy Dog Team, a dog must undergo an initial assessment to ensure they are a suitable candidate to interact well under all social situations before commencing their training course. A Therapy Dog should not show aggression and must have a stable disposition as they will be entering a myriad of different environments such as work places, hospitals and special schools etc. so they must be adaptable in attitude. A Therapy Dog does a great service also for the community but they do not have any legal standing under the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dog Act 2009 to be granted public access which means they are only allowed to legally visit places any pet dog is allowed under all laws and acts and visits to facilities are only upon approval of management of those places for visit sites.

Facility Dogs

A Facility Dog is a dog that is usually trained to work in a facility on a regular basis. The facility could be an Aged Care facility, an educational facility such as a School or Special School, a Hospital, O.T. or Physio facility, Psychiatric or Mental Health Facility, Airport, Dental Clinic or a variety of other facilities where the use of canine support would be beneficial. The dog must have great social skills and have undergone assessment and a training program to ensure it is a suitable and reliable candidate to be able to do the role of supporting clients or patients of the facility, and it also must have stable temperament and great health. The Facility Dog may live on site or it may live predominately with a staff member that then takes the dog into the workplace on a daily basis to interact and provide positive emotional experiences with the clientele of that facility. When utilising the services of a trained therapy or facility dog, it is the responsibility of the trained handler to ensure they are meeting the needs of the trained therapy or facility dog by covering all safety, welfare and environmental enrichment requirements. The welfare of the animal must be paramount to ensure a safe and reliable experience for the attendees, patients, staff and others. This experience must be formulated to provide the correct stimulation and enrichment for the patients so that it is also covering the facility’s goals and expectations.

Hymba Yumba Independent School

In 2020 Empower Assistance Dogs began a collaboration with Hymba Yumba Independent School and their teachers to commence a dog training program with the jarjums (students).  What started out as a conversation about implementing a therapy dog within the school environment quickly progressed to being able to begin an Australian First program where we provide a ‘Dog Training’ subject as part of the curriculum so that the jarjums gained a qualification and real life skills.  In 2021 we began the first Certificate II in Animal Studies (ACM20117) course in conjunction with Dentos Pet Stylist Academy (RTO2875).

The jarjums travel to our facility on a weekly basis to undertake both theory and practical hands on training with the dogs.  They are also given on site visits when we take our puppy raisers out into the community as part of the Empower Assistance Dogs public access training.  By undertaking this qualification, the jarjums have also been given additional retail opportunities as well as other social opportunities.  By undertaking this course the jarjums have encountered many different life skills as they watch and experience from the birth of puppies right through to interacting with government certified assistance dog handlers and their dogs.  They have learnt communication skills, dog training and handling skills, animal husbandry, dog anatomy, breed and coat types, animal welfare and handling, canine behaviour and psychology, fleas and common parasites, diseases and infection control, zoonoses, pet first aid, dog enrichment, animal handling and restraints, customer service and relations, nutrition, tools and equipment, bathing and drying and so much more!  The senior jarjums have also attended our annual Empower Assistance Dogs Charity Gala Ball and handled therapy dogs within the room on the evening.

Want to apply to be a Therapy or
Facility Dog Member

Please fill out this application form or Contact our Trainer Emma for more information on or 0447-536-205

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