What are Companion Dogs?

You may have heard the term “Companion Dog” before, but what is a Companion Dog? Dogs can have many different roles these days!

A Companion Dog is very different to an Assistance Dog, a Therapy Dog, or an Emotional Support Dog (for more information, see the links at the bottom of the article).

A Companion Dog is a dog who began training for life as an Assistance Dog, but was released from the program before graduating and has instead had a career change.

A dog may be released from Assistance Dog training due to health or behavioural issues that mean they are better suited to life as a pet. They still have plenty of love to give and can still assist in providing structure and routine for their owners.


Frankie while he was in training. Now he is a Companion Dog.


Companion Dogs are not Assistance Dogs. Technically, any dog released from Assistance Dog training without graduating is a Companion Dog. Some still have ‘jobs’, such as Educational Support Dogs and Therapy Dogs, but they do not have Public Access Rights, don’t possess any official qualifications or certificates, and don’t wear a working Assistance Dog jacket. In their new lives, Companion Dogs are effectively loving pets.

Assistance Dogs Australia takes great care to place Companion Dogs in the best homes for their personalities and needs. Sometimes this is with people that have previously applied for an Assistance Dog, but there is no expectation that a Companion Dog will perform specific tasks designed to improve their owner’s quality of life.

We are not currently accepting applications for Companion Dogs or Assistance Dogs. We cannot register or classify your own dog as a Companion Dog.

Need a refresher on what an Assistance Dog is? Check out below for more information!

It costs over $60,000 to train and place an Assistance Dog.

Your donation helps covers training, vaccinations, food and equipment for an Assistance Dog, who is given to a client free of charge.

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