An improved understanding of the benefits of service dogs has led to more people turning to them for a wider range of medical conditions.
The expansion of service dogs into areas covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and other healthcare areas has also increased the demand for more regulation and qualified delivery of service animal training.
To that end, over the past year the animal care and management industry has contributed to a national project to update and develop competency units and skills for service dog trainers.
As a result of the consultations within the Assistance Dog Trainer project, the competency standards have been updated, comprising five competency units and two competency groups.
The newly developed skill standards will build the skills needed to train service dogs for a wide range of purposes and to work with and instruct future handlers.
The new units were included in Certificate IV Animal Behavior and Training, and as a result of the project work, a specialization in assistance dog training was created.
The updated competency standards will equip the animal care and management industry with the expertise to facilitate rewarding relationships between service animals and their handlers.
The new and updated units, skills and qualifications are now published in the National Training Register.