Frequently Asked Questions

How does the application process work?

PADs Foundation accepts preliminary applications year round after an initial phone call to discuss the training process. Subsequently all applications will be completed through our secure online platform.

Please note: submitting a full application does not mean the applicant is automatically approved for membership.

It is necessary for your Dr or psychiatrist to complete our downloadable questionnaire, and for your Veterinarian to complete our downloadable vet form as part of the online registration process.

Where do we offer membership?

Throughout the UK: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What does membership give me?

If your application is successful you and your dog will be considered as In Training Members of PADs Foundation. Please note that you will not be allowed access with your dog until it has reached International Public Access Standards and performs a minimum of two task related behaviours. As In Training Members you and your trainer will work through our In Training Guide to reach the International Public Access Standards. Please note that not all dogs will successfully reach the high standard of training required. Once you have passed the International Public Access Standards and the dog has successfully demonstrated the required mitigating behaviours you and your dog will have public access rights under the Equality Act 2010. If you would like at this point to become full members of PADs Foundation we will issue you with membership cards and PADs harness which is useful to raise awareness of assistance dogs. Please note that it is not a legal requirement for the dog to wear an assistance dog harness.

Please see our Paws For Access page.

Full membership requires annual vet and dog behaviour checks.

How much does it cost?

There is no charge to register as an In Training Member of PADs Foundation. As fully trained members, membership costs approximately £15.00 a year which covers the costs of the membership card and postage. The Assistance Dog and Assistance Dog In Training tabard will be the cost of us buying and embroidering the PADs Foundation logo.

The cost of owning a dog varies depending on size and breed, please see the PDSA page here for further information.

Training a dog ranges in cost dependent on a number of variables, this includes location, trainer qualification, experience and training ratios. Foundation behaviours and puppy development, such as Kennel Club good citizens award, can be done in groups which lowers the cost. We recommend using our Finding A Trainer Guide. We require all In Training Members to have a minimum of one training session a month with a qualified trainer.

PADs Foundation is a young charity run by a small number of volunteers and as such we are currently unable to provide volunteer trainers, however we are in the early stages of nationwide recruitment. Despite this we realise that we won’t be able to provide volunteer trainers for everyone, we do provide guidelines on how to find a suitable trainer. PADs Foundation will support you and your trainer through the training process.

Does PADs Foundation support owner training or does PADs provide fully trained dogs?

PADs Foundation supports owner training for all In Training members by providing a detailed training guide to be worked through with a qualified trainer. It usually takes between 18 to 24 months of training to reach the International Public Access Standards.

Training a dog to qualify as an Assistance Dog takes hard work and dedication from the owner and the trainer, and results in a highly trained, well socialised, well behaved dog who can remain calm, alert, and under control in any situation. The standard a dog must reach to qualify is set by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) a coalition of Assistance Dog training organisations across the world.

Please see Getting Started

PADs Foundation does not provide fully trained dogs.

What is a suitable dog to be an Assistance Dog?

Please see Getting Started

What are the age requirements?

Currently you must be 18 or over to register with PADs but we hope to be able to offer registration for minors and their guardians in the future.

Am I a suitable candidate to have a Psychiatric Assistance Dog?

As part of the application process, your psychologist or doctor that is familiar with your mental history will need to verify that you are fit enough to both look after a dog and be safe with one in public places. Your condition must have been officially diagnosed at least 12 months previously to your application date and must be a significant mental health condition that severely impacts your daily living, including but not limited to:

  • PTSD
  • Severe Depression
  • Severe Anxiety
  • Bipolar
  • Dissociative episodes

Will my dog have Public Access rights and be recognised as an assistance dog in the UK?

For a dog to be legally recognised under the Equality Act 2010 as an assistance dog in the UK it will need to be trained to International Public Access Standards and perform a minimum of three mitigating behaviours for the handler.

For further information on public access rights and the law, please see a case tried for owner trained psychiatric assistance dog in 2019: 

Seward vs Matador Trading LTD June 19th 2020.

Why do I need a sponsor?

Every person registering with PADs needs sponsor, someone who would look after the dog in the event that you are ill or unable to.