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This week is International Assistance Dog Week.

Assistance Dogs provide all sorts of different types of support to lots of different people.


Most people have probably heard of Guide Dogs for blind and partially sighted people but there are many other organisations out there training dogs to provide support such as opening and closing doors, unloading the washing machine, picking up dropped items, pressing buttons and switches and fetching help in an emergency. They can even help people to get undressed and remove a card from an ATM! As well as physical assistance some assistance dogs are taught to identify the odour changes that are associated with life-threatening medical events.


Assistance Dogs UK is a voluntary coalition of assistance dog organisations in the UK and currently has 8 members. There are Community Dogs who, along with their specialised handlers, work in activity and therapy in communities and schools. Some organisations train dogs and then match them with an owner and some organisations train dogs who already belong to someone and show an aptitude for providing assistance. These dogs are known to reduce anxiety and improve people’s confidence, often encouraging them to get involved in activities that they have been missing out on. One of the many activities that is available to people with assitance dogs, who may not have felt confident enough to attempt it before they came into their lives, is attending live sporting events. Level Playing Field always recommend that venues have relieving stations for assistance dogs, and provide drinking water.


The organisations who are currently members of Assistance Dogs UK are:

Canine Partners ,

Dog A.I.D. ,

Dogs For Good,

Guide Dogs,

Hearing Dogs,

Medical Detection Dogs ,

Support Dogs , and

Seeing Dogs