INFORMATION FOR BUSINESSES
Information For Businesses
If you would like more information about Assistance Dogs and your business, you can request a business information pack at the bottom of this page.
Containing more detailed information, new topics, explanations of your rights regarding Assistance Dog teams visiting your business, as well as the rights of the disabled person accessing your services.
What is an Assistance Dog?
An Assistance Dog is a dog who is specially trained to help a disabled person manage their disabilities.
A commonly known type of Assistance Dog is a Guide Dog, all guide dogs are Assistance Dogs, but not all Assistance Dogs are Guide Dogs.
For further information about 'What is an Assistance Dog?'
you can view our dedicated page here.
Recognising an Assistance Dog team
An Assistance Dog will usually be wearing some sort of identifying gear.
You may also see an Assistance Dog labelled as a 'Service Dog' which is a term more common in the USA. The gear they wear may be a vest, harness, bandana, or leash wrap.
The simplest way to know if a dog is an Assistance Dog is to simply and politely ask about the dog.
You cannot ask personal questions about the handler's disability/ies beyond what they wish to share with you.
If a dog is marked as an Assistance Dog and behaving calmly you can be pretty sure the dog is trained and on the job.
Dogs are animals, not robots and even the best-trained dogs can have off days.
An Assistance Dog should always display a standard of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for a public place.
Where can an Assistance Dog go?
Assistance Dogs can go almost anywhere the general public is allowed; including food courts, restaurants, medical practices, most areas within a hospital, public transport, shopping centres, etc.
Assistance Dogs are not pets, and are legally allowed into non-pet-friendly areas.
It is reasonable to deny an Assistance Dog access to areas they may pose a legitimate health risk, such as sterile rooms, quarantine areas in zoos or hospitals, and kitchens.
A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you would allow a patron without an Assistance Dog into an area, then you should allow a patron with an Assistance Dog into that area.
Can I deny access or ask a team to leave?
Assistance Dogs by law, must uphold a standard of behaviour and hygiene appropriate for a dog in a public place.
If a dog is not upholding these standards it is reasonable to ask a team to leave or deny them access.
Remember, even the best trained dogs can have an off day - this can be very upsetting to their handler.
The best way to ask a team to leave is discreetly and professionally.
A team not meeting standards for a moment in time does not necessarily mean they are not a legitimate team.
Dogs not displaying a high standard of training and behaviour may look like:
Jumping on people / furniture
(unless related to a task. A task will be a deliberate, controlled, and clear action)
Interacting with objects inappropriately (unless task related)
Disobeying handlers requests to settle down
Lunging at people or another dog
Growling at people or another dog
Obviously very dirty
Has an accident or is not toilet trained
You cannot ask a dog to leave/deny access because:
You only allow Guide Dogs (Guide Dogs are a type of Assistance Dogs)
Someone is allergic to or afraid of dogs
The dog has a shedding coat type
You have food/displays in your establishment