A safe and accessible city

New program to train dogs as assistance animals

The City of Sydney has partnered with mindDog to run the training program.

Assistance dogs

The City of Sydney is helping everyday dogs do the extraordinary with the launch of a 12-month program for eligible residents to train their dogs as assistance animals.

Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney said the unique program would help residents get their pet officially certified as an assistance animal.

“I adore dogs, and the comfort and joy they provide to their owners cannot be overstated. This initiative allows some of our most vulnerable residents to move more easily around our city, with the comfort and guidance of their favourite four-legged friend,” the Lord Mayor said.

“I have long urged governments to make it easier to take dogs on public transport, and while we’re not there yet, this program helps those who need it most. I am proud the City of Sydney is sponsoring mindDog and look forward to seeing some well-trained pooches in a year’s time!”

Once both the owner and dog have successfully completed the training, the dog will be issued with an assistance dog 'in-training' vest. The dog will then be eligible to be recorded as an 'assistance animal' on the NSW Pet Registry. mindDog CEO Cath Phillips said assistance dogs change lives.

“Assistance dogs help their partners who are struggling with conditions like anxiety or other mental health challenges,” Phillips said.

“Many of our clients suffer from agoraphobia. Once a dog becomes a mindDog, it can be taken on public transport, go to medical appointments, the movies, university, the shops.

“These are areas which don’t usually allow pets. It allows our clients to lead the life many of us take for granted.”

mindDog trains the dog and their owner to be safe and well behaved in public. It largely involves developing the bond between the pair while the training is ongoing.

The City of Sydney is subsidising the training costs for eligible residents. People from outside the City of Sydney local area can also apply but will need to fund the course themselves.

You can find out more about the program by contacting us at council@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au or 02 9265 9333, or contact mindDog.

Published 19 April 2023