Assistance Dogs New Zealand

Assistance Dogs New Zealand provides suitably trained service dogs primarily to assist children disabled through autism.

The not-for-profit organisation received a $1,035 grant from the Mazda Foundation to purchase equipment for the training and maintenance of the dogs, including harnesses, leads, brushes and toys.

Julie Hancox, Assistance Dogs New Zealand’s trainer, says, “Assistance dogs enrich the lives of people with disabilities by helping them to live independently, enabling mobility, and providing companionship. In many cases, the addition of an assistance dog to these children’s lives has encouraged benefits beyond the expected, including improved verbal skills and an increased capacity for empathy and love.”

Each assistance dog goes through a comprehensive training programme, which takes approximately six months. The training includes a temperament assessment, basic obedience, social behaviour, home behaviour and specific task training. The equipment needed for the dogs during this training is essential – having adequate equipment supports the dogs in their training and helps to enable positive outcomes for the children and their families.