Application Process
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The Application Process

If you are interested in applying for a diabetic alert assistance dog from Paws for Diabetics Inc., the process is as follows:

Step 1 - Send in an application

An application kit can be downloaded from the Paws for Diabetics Inc. website or requested via telephone from the secretary. Return the completed application and medical history forms with a non-refundable application fee of $60, which includes one year membership, to Paws for Diabetics Inc. Once the application is received, you will be contacted by the Director of Training to discuss the programme and what we can do for you. This usually occurs within 28 days of receiving a completed application kit.

To download the application kit click the link below. As the application kit is a pdf file you will need Acrobat Reader to open it. Most computers come with this program.

PFD Application Kit

If you are unable to open the file, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Step 2 - Attend a telephone interview

If we haven’t already spoken to you, a telephone interview will be scheduled to help the applicant and Paws for Diabetics Inc. decide if receiving an assistance dog would be both beneficial and appropriate. Following this discussion, Paws for Diabetics Inc. Management Committee will determine whether the applicant meets all the criteria required and would benefit from an assistance dog. The applicant will have the opportunity to review further information on the practicalities of training and handling a service dog to assist in your decision to complete your application.

Step 3 - Complete a Home Visit

If the telephone interview is positive, a home visit will be carried out by the Paws for Diabetics Inc. Director of Training or nominated representative. This is also an opportunity to meet the entire family and view your living arrangements.  If you have a dog you wish to be trained as your diabetic alert dog, it will be assessed at this time as to its suitability. There may also be an opportunity to experience handling a service dog in public during a shopping centre/supermarket walk-through with our representative dog.

After the home visit, Paws for Diabetics Inc. will notify the applicant as to whether they have been accepted into the programme.

Step 4 – Purchasing a suitable puppy

If you do not already have a dog that has been approved by PFD to train, we strongly recommend that you wait until your application is approved before sourcing a puppy or dog to train. The demands of an assistance dog life can be underestimated and demands specific temperament and health requirements. PFD is experienced in the selection of appropriate puppies and has several preferred breeders we can recommend, as well as being able to make an unemotional, professional appraisal of the most suitable candidate. The cutest, most appealing puppy is not always the most suited to this form of work and, given the gravity of such an undertaking, you are advised to heed our advice and direction. Not all breeds are suitable either and PFD reserves the right to reject dogs who display undesirable physical or temperamental traits, or breeds, who in PFD’s opinion, poses too great a challenge for the applicant to train and handle. When choosing a particular puppy or breeder, discuss the breed’s inherited risk factors and relevant health tests of the parents/family line. A demonstrated understanding of assistance dog selection criteria by the breeder is preferred, as well as their willingness to participate in early puppy education as per PFD’s requirements prior to weaning.

It is not recommended that you purchase, adopt or rescue a dog or puppy from a shelter to train as your assistance dog. Unfortunately you will not know the background health or experiences of this dog or pup and that can impact greatly on your success with training. The investment of money, time and emotion that goes into the training of these dogs, it would be an enormous shame to have it develop a health or behavioural issue that removes it from the programme. Although these things cannot be totally avoided by purchasing a pup from a reputable breeder, they can be minimised due to the testing and care taken by these breeders during your puppy’s gestation and early development and growth. Every effort must be made to have the best, healthiest and more suitable pup to work with.

There is no particular preference for pure breeds or cross breeds, although poodle crosses have become increasingly popular due to the lower allergy risk. Your favourite breed may not be suitable as the first dog you train, so be open to discussing a different breed to what you’d expect. The working life of your dog will be around 10 years, which means that once you have trained your first dog, you will have the experience and knowledge to be able to train a more challenging breed the next time around. PFD’s only concern is your success, so our advice will reflect this during our discussions. Dangerous or inappropriate breeds or individuals will not be accepted.

Step 5 – Placement and commencement of your training programme

Families will be required to attend a “Dogs and Children” course, outlining appropriate dog and children interaction, recognising body language and age appropriate understanding. This course is conducted on-line with a trainer and commences once a fortnight for 8 weeks prior to the arrival of the pup and continues for once a week for 4 weeks after. This is compulsory for anyone with children under 15 in the house, for grandparents who may have regular contact with young grandchildren or who live with young grandchildren. This is relevant regardless if the dog is for a child or for a parent or adult in the household.

Teenage or adult applicants will attend a similar on-line course, “Puppy Introduction”, to either familiarise you with or refresh your knowledge of handling, raising, training and interacting with a puppy. This is particularly useful for those who haven’t had a dog before or haven’t had a puppy for some time. This will commence once a week for 4 weeks prior to your pup’s arrival and continue for 2 weeks after the pup’s arrival.

Both these classes are conducted via Facebook Messenger live video or via Skype and there is a cost associated with these courses.

When your puppy is 8 to 10 weeks old and is sent from the breeder, or when it is appropriate to start training with your pet dog, the Director of Training or nominated representative, will come to your place to work with you for a few days to start you on your programme journey. During this time, you will be given training resources, advice, direction and support to establish alerting behaviours and to assist you to recognise your pup or dog’s body language and possible alerting behaviours. We will look at obedience training requirements and you will have to have your pup enrolled in a local Puppy Pre-school course and have an obedience instructor or school classes arranged once your pup is fully vaccinated. You are required to attend a minimum of 20 hours of formal training in a training class or private instructor, plus a further 100 hours minimum training done by yourself. This must be completed and documented prior to your dog having its initial Public Access Accreditation Test. You will also be required to report every week to the Director of Training, sending spreadsheets and training notes to help us support your training progress. PAAT’s will not be conducted until your pup is at least 12 months old and preferable by the time it is 2 years old.

There is a requirement that people training older dogs are actively training for a minimum of 3 months before a PAAT will be conducted. This includes dogs coming into PFD from other organisations, despite having PAAT status from their prior organisation, or if a dog trained through PFD is transferred to a new handler, there will also be a period of at least 3 months. This allows time for the new partnership to be established and the dog and handler demonstrate working well together.

You are encouraged to purchase health insurance for your puppy or dog. You are welcome to source insurance from whatever company you deem appropriate.

Please note: It is required that all dog owners/handlers remain a financial member of the association for the working life of their dog.