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Our Dogs with Jobs

by Craig Murray

— Craig A. Murray is an international award-winning certified specialist dog-trainer. Recently Craig has been training two of our pups, Tommy and Jerry. This article is reprinted here courtesy of Craig.

Assistance Dogs

Assistance dogs are trained to enhance the quality of life of physically or mentally challenged persons whilst still maintaining as much independence for the handler. This means that the dog will be a permanent working companion for the disabled handler and will assist with a myriad of task work but whilst still having the handler work and interact as much as physically or mentally possible.

Assistance dogs are trained to turn lights on and off, open and close doors, pick up and or retrieve dropped or wanted items, indicate when handler needs assistance either by alerting a carer or by pushing a medical alarm etc. We train each dog to the individual handler’s needs. There are basic tasks that are taught to each assistance dog but every handler will have different physical needs so there will be different individual tasks required for every handler.

Recently the Queensland Government introduced the new Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dog Act which will endeavour to work in with the Federal Disability Discrimination Act and it's new amendments.  This will now mean for Assistance Dog owners that regardless of if the dog was professionally trained or owner trained, all dogs and handlers will have to go through and pass a Public Access Test.  Under the Act, Trainers will have to be Certified and then they can carry out the Public Access Test on dogs and handlers.  A dog and handler whom have passed will be issued an identification card and special badge for the dog's jacket or harness.  Craig A Murray Dog Training now has three Certified Assistance Dog Trainers.  We were among the very first to pass and therefore we are able to certify dogs and handlers.

Where do we access Assistance dog candidates?

Our aim is to breed our own Assistance dog candidates. We currently breed Golden Retrievers and Labradors to be able to pick the best possible pups from the litter to run on and train. We also check dog pounds, giveaways, etc. and assess each particular dog to ensure that they would have the correct training drives that we would require them to have to be an Assistance dog candidate. We have a select group of breeders that are purposely breeding for sound temperament and great drives that suit our Assistance Dog program.