About Us

Helping Paws Service Dog Training was established in Tasmania, July 2019. 


Hello my name is Karen and I am a mum of two young children who both have ASD and comorbidities.  Both my children have accredited assistance dogs through GHAD Queensland and are both are listed as the primary handlers of their dogs requiring an alternative handler.

We started the owner training journey in 2015 with our little Labrador girl who came from NSW as a 13 week old puppy.  We worked with an organisation called Service Dog Training who are based in Victoria.

In 2018 we had our big standard labradoodle join us from WA, he was 14 months old and it was believed by other trainers that he would not meet assistance dog standard.  However, with hard work, dedication and the bond that my son and this dog developed, he obtained his service dog accreditation through GHAD in 2019.


Empowering people with a disability to train there their Own Assistance dog”

“Helping Paws Service Dog Training” work with people who have disabilities and assist them with training their own dog to become certified Assistance Dog.  This process can take up to 18-24 months and we ensure that the handler teams meet the standard as per the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

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

(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.”

To determine if this standard is met the handler team will be required to do a PAT (Pubic Access Test) with us.  Helping Paws Service Dog Training operate under the same standards and guidelines as GHAD (Guide-Hearing-Assistance-Dogs Act 2009) and our teams are retested every 3 years.

[Helping Paws Service Dog training will commence training Animal Assisted Therapy and Therapy Dog teams in February 2021. ]


  • What we believe is achievable:
    • You can train you own dog to assistance dog standard
    • You don’t have to be a dog trainer you just need to learn the training techniques, be given the right support and be dedicated in working with your dog
    • You can do this and together we can come up with solutions to any situation that arise
  • Training methods that we use
    • Positive Reinforcement (praise, food rewards)
    • Training with hand signals/clicker if required (non-verbal)
    • Only wanted behaviours are rewarded, unwanted behaviours are ignored.
    • Scientifically-based training methods and guidelines.
    • Force Free Training Methods

How we will help you:

  • Set up training plans for you to work through, with the aim to achieving PAT standard
  • Teach you how to train your dog in specific tasks so that they are able to assist you
  • Support you on a weekly basis, either by telephone calls, emails and face to face contact
  • Understand your disability and work within your capabilities
  • Listen to what your needs are
  • Treat you with respect and dignity
  • We keep our registered client list small so that we can provide you with quality assistance and support.

What you need to commit to:

  • You need to make sure that you are committed to train and work with your dog on a daily basis
  • You need to discuss with me ANY thing that is causing you concern, with the training
  • Please understand that this is a life time commitment (dogs) from you
  • Abide by the rules, regulations  and responsibilities that comes with having an assistance dog as per the Disability Discrimination Act 1992
  • You need to ensure that you are able to afford to meet the needs of the dog and the training

My qualifications

    • Animal Assisted Therapy Diploma  (AAT and AAA)
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Diploma
    • Cert IV in Education Support – Employed as an Allied Health Assistant on a casual basis (NDIS clientele)
    • Certificate III in Canine Behaviour and Training
    • Dog Training Cert III
    • Puppy Training Cert III
    • Ian Dunbar Dog Training Academy (4 day online workshop)
    • Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Course level III
    • ADHD Awareness Course Level III
    • Advanced Autism Awareness Diploma Course Level IV
    • Special Educational Needs and Disability Diploma Course level III
    • Working with vulnerable people card – Tasmania
    • Bachelors of Commerce majoring in Accounting

CURRENT   MEMBERSHIPS

    • Professional Membership  – Animal Therapies Ltd (animaltherapies.org.au)
    • Full Membership – Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia Inc (www.apdt.com.au)