AN OVERVIEW OF WHAT DISTINGUISHES AN ASSISTANCE DOG IN TRAINING FROM BOTH A PET AND A FULLY TRAINED ASSISTANCE DOG
What IS an Assistance Dog in Training
In short: an Assistance Dog in Training (or ADiT) is a dog that is being trained to assist a disabled person with an aspect (or aspects) of their disability which usually limits their capabilities in day to day life.
A dog or puppy that is being trained to help a disabled person with a disabling disability access goods or a service can be classed as an Assistance Dog in Training. Note, this does not mean that any dog being trained for anything counts as an ADiT just because it is “in training” – the defining factor is the disability of the individual.
What it ISN’T
A dog that is untrained and/or has no basic obedience in public should not be labelled as an Assistance Dog in Training. In this case it is best that training happens at home first, and then potentially the use of “training” labels can be appropriate.
A dog that shows aggression towards anything (people, animals, objects) should not be called or labelled as an Assistance Dog in Training until it has overcome these obstacles.
A dog that toilets in inappropriate places (accidents outside of the normal do not count) should not be called or labelled as an Assistance Dog in Training.
A dog that is not under any reasonable control (jumping up objects constantly, pulling on a lead constantly, barking excessively) should not be called or labelled as an Assistance Dog in Training.
A dog that is disabled, ill, or has no hygiene upkeep (flea treatment, wormer, groomed) should not be called or labelled as an Assistance Dog in Training.
A dog that is being trained by a disabled person for a purpose other than (and not as well as) to assist them, should not be labelled as an Assistance Dog in Training.
By default any of the issues above stated as reasons not to class a dog as an Assistance Dog in Training are also reasons not to class a dog as an Assistance Dog.
Assistance Dogs in Training are NOT classed as an auxiliary aid by law until they are fully trained. This area can be confusing as the law is generally vague, however if it came down to it in a court of law you would find it very difficult to justify that your ADiT is your auxiliary aid, especially if they are still young.
Remember, a dog in training isn’t always equal to the same access rights as a fully trained assistance dog. But in the same way when someone starts training on the job, they are permitted to learn on the job at certain training levels. Continuing this analogy, this is down to the supervisor’s discretion to assess when the trainee can deal or cope with that level of exposure. In the same way though, a premises hold may ask any trainee to leave if they feel they are performing at an unsuitable level.
Equally, the label “Assistance Dog in Training” should not be used as an excuse for full Assistance Dogs to never end up being trained to the appropriate level expected. At best it can become a safety net, and at worst it becomes an excuse for poor behaviour and inadequate training.