Types of Dogs

Tana, Koda and Milan with Santa

Perfect Partners is focused on training the types of Disability Assist Dogs that were not being trained in New Zealand when we were established in 2007, or those that “fall through the cracks”. The types of dogs that we train, and provide, reflect the needs of New Zealanders of all ages, whatever their disability may be. We employ humane training and placement methods, and utilise a training programme that is based on research and international best practice.

See below for more information regarding:

Disability Assist Dogs can be trained to mitigate the circumstances of a variety of medically diagnosed conditions. Perfect Partners is initially focused on training Disability Assist Dogs for people who are not covered by the existing Disability Assist Dog organisations with an emphasis on:

  • Autism Disability Assist Dogs
  • Neurological Disability Assist Dogs
  • Psychiatric Disability Assist Dogs
  • Seizure Alert Disability Assist Dogs
  • Seizure Response Disability Assist Dogs

Fully trained dogs have a Royal Blue coat, while dogs in training will have an “in training” patch to show they are still learning. PPADT dogs come in a variety of shapes and sizes; however, all of our dogs are shown on the register on this website. All handlers carry identification that includes their name and photograph, if you have doubts then please ask to see their ID; a current list of official PPADT dogs can be viewed in our registry.

From 2014, all PPADT dogs will also wear the Civil Defence National Identifier Tag for Disability Assist Dogs.

Please note that it is an offence under NZ law to copy, falsify, or impersonate in any way a Disability Assist Dog.

Applying for a PPADT Dog

So you are thinking of applying for a Disability Assist Dog? Before applying to PPADT, we insist you take the time to consider the following five questions, as they contains topics essential for your application:

Disability Assist Dogs

Disability Assist Dogs are trained to mitigate the effects of a variety of medically diagnosed disabilities.

Disability Assist Dogs form a dual function for their handlers by providing practical assistance in the form of tasks specifically aimed at mitigating the clients particular disability, while also performing a valuable emotional and social role providing a social bridge to the clients community. This dual function is particularly important as neurological disorders are often invisible disabilities that leave clients and their families socially isolated by misconceptions and quick judgements.

Perfect Partners is focused on training Disability Assist Dogs for people with an emphasis on:

  • Provide balance support for people with neurological or psychiatric conditions
  • Interrupt stimming behaviours in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Open and close doors, cupboards, and fridges
  • Turn light switches on and off
  • Load and unload clothing from a washing machine or drier
  • Retrieve medication, a phone, or other items on command
  • Lead the handler to a safe location during an attack or prior to a seizure
  • Lead a disorientated person to a named location or person
  • Bark on command to summon assistance

In addition to these trained tasks, these dogs can also provide:

  • A social bridge between the person with a disability and their community
  • Emotional support

Companion Dogs

A skilled companion dog may be trained to assist with day to day tasks around the home, but are not entitled to Public Access or to enter places that a pet dog cannot go.

A Skilled Companion Dog may be a dog which has been removed from our Disability Assist Dog programme, a puppy raised specifically for the role of a Skilled Companion Dog, a suitable adult dog donated to the programme, or a privately owned dog trained to a suitable standard.

Perfect Partners will support families who do not require a fully trained Disability Assist Dog, usually when one or more children have autism spectrum disorder, but we will work with other individuals as appropriate. Perfect Partners will select a puppy in consultation with the family and then train the puppy until it is around twelve months of age. At this point the puppy will be integrated into the family home, with support provided so the transition is as smooth as possible.

Families are encouraged to visit the puppy as it grows so the family can form a bond with their puppy, and so the child with autism can be slowly introduced to their dog. In the case of adult dogs and career change dogs contact is also encouraged, particularly during the time leading up to placement.

If you would like more information about this programme please contact us.

Please note, PPADT does not currently have the volunteer resources to train Skilled Companion Dogs at this time.

Privately Owned Dogs

Perfect Partners recognises the fact that some owners have a companion dog that they would like to train to work as a Disability Assist Dog. The Perfect Partners Assistance Dogs Trust will train privately owned dogs, so long as the training of such dogs will not interfere with work of the Perfect Partners Assistance Dogs Trust as stated in our Trust Deed.

Any person wishing to have their privately owned dog assessed must meet the criteria of the Perfect Partners Assistance Dogs Trust, and have a medically diagnosed need for a Disability Assist Dog. Representatives from the Perfect Partners Assistance Dogs Trust will visit the home of the applicant. On this visit, the representatives will:

  • Handle the dog to test suitability, and complete an assessment form
  • Discuss the situations the dog will be working in
  • Discuss training needs and suitability of the dog

The dog will be accepted into the programme, and an individual training plan will be developed only once:

  • The dog has been found to have a suitable temperament with no behavioural problems that would prevent it working as a Disability Assist Dog
  • There is support from the clients veterinarian and doctor
  • The need for a Disability Assist Dog has been confirmed

Emotional Support Dogs

An Emotional Support Dog is sometimes a difficult concept for people in New Zealand to understand because it is different in some countries, resulting in conflicting information from overseas websites.

Please view our detailed information at the top of our FAQs page.