How To Apply

Integra Service Dogs Australia provides First Responders, ADF Members and Veterans with highly trained canine guardians.

Integra provides Assistance Dogs to First Responders, ADF Members and Veterans. We do not provide Assistance Dogs to the general public.

Integra Dog Training is a reward-based core skills training program, which takes around 6-12 months to complete (this may vary depending on the level of support required by the individual First Responder, ADF Member or Veteran for the assistance dog that they are the ‘handler for). Our Program is designed to provide Handlers with the placement and training towards a fully certified Assistance Dog that provides them with the tools to reclaim their place in the community and rebuild their lives. Integra Dog Training builds the foundation necessary to successfully undertake the Public Access Test (PAT) which assesses both the dog’s and Handler’s suitability for accessing public spaces.

Integra aims to ensure that its services are available to First Responders, ADF Members and Veterans that need it. As a charitable organisation we contribute significantly to funding so that costs to access our program are minimal at around $3,000 – $5,000 per applicant.

Applicants may wish to seek the financial support (from insurers, local businesses, or other potential sponsors) to help them meet the costs of joining the Integra program. ADF Veterans and Members may wish to apply for support through the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Psychiatric Assistance Dog (PAD) program. Information on the DVA PAD program can be found at http://www.dva.gov.au/dogs. First Responders and those not eligible or not wishing to apply through the DVA PAD may apply directly to Integra.

Want to know more?

Please contact us at enquiries@isda.com.au  

How to apply

The application process to enter the Integra Program requires you to:

  1. Discuss with your family, partner and immediate friends whether you have the capability to take on the responsibility of caring for and training of an Assistance Dog. This includes considering whether you:
  • have a safe home and yard or space to house the dog inside to secure it from theft or loss
  • have the time to commit to the training of your Labrador dog
  • are emotionally and physically resilient enough to take on the responsibilities of providing for the welfare of your dog, and
  • are in a financial position to contribute to the costs ($3,000 – $5,000) towards this program
  1. Complete an application form. The application form that you complete will depend on whether you are applying directly to Integra or applying through the DVA PAD program (see Application Forms section below). The DVA PAD program may refer you to Integra or another DVA Approved PAD Supplier contracted to DVA.

If applying directly to Integra you will need to:

  •  be a current First Responder, ADF Member or Veteran
  •  provide a letter of support from your Psychiatrist, Psychologist or treating Clinician to confirm that, in their opinion, you are able to take on the responsibilities of caring for and training an Assistance Dog. The referring letter must be on the clinician’s letterhead and state the following three items:
  • that you have a PTSD diagnoses
  • that you have the capability to enter the program
  • how long you have been a client and the frequency of appointments
  • allow a visit to your home by an Integra assessor to discuss your application and to participate in an interview with an Integra Program Manager.
  • receive approval from Integra and your sponsor (if any) to proceed.

Following approval to proceed, it generally takes 6 months to match you with a suitable Labrador dog and nominate a local Integra trainer/mentor to help you through the process of training and caring for your Assistance Dog.

Application Forms

 There are two application form pathways depending on whether you are a current ADF Member, ADF Veteran or First Responder:

 If you are an ADF Veteran –, you may wish to consider applying for The Commonwealth Department of Veterans Affairs’ Psychiatric Assistance Dog Program.

-OR-

If you are/were a First Responder OR an ADF Veteran or ADF Member and do not wish to apply through the DVA’s Psychiatric Assistance Dog Program , please complete the Integra Application Form (PDF) and submit the Application Form to enquiries@isda.com.au for review.

Frequently Asked Questions

IS THERE A COST TO THE PROGRAM?

  • If you are not fully sponsored, either through DVA or an alternate sponsor you may need to contribute between $3,000 – $5,000 for the supply of the dog, training and ongoing support costs.
  • Integra, while a small, not for profit organisation, will always endeavour to support First Responders, ADF Members and Veterans in need on a case by case basis.

WHAT AVENUES ARE AVAILABLE TO PROVIDE SUPPORT FUNDING?

  • If you are a ADF Veteran you can apply through the DVA PAD program.
  • If you are a First Responder, ADF Member or Veteran who is ineligible or unwilling to apply for the DVA program you may apply directly to Integra.
  • To contribute to your costs you may wish to approach your organisation, insurer or staff associations, in the case of First Responders, or seek corporate sponsorship support.
  • Integra is always willing to discuss support options with individuals on a case-by-case basis.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR AN INTEGRA ASSISTANCE DOG?

  • If you are a First Responder, ADF Member or Veteran that meets the requirements outlined in the ‘How to Apply’ section above, you are eligible to be considered for the placement of an Integra Assistance Dog.

WHAT WILL MY COMMITMENT BE?

  • Your commitment is to ensure you:
    • have a safe home environment and suitable space for the dog to secure it from theft or loss
    • have the time to commit to the structured training of your Labrador dog
    • are emotionally and physically resilient enough to take on the responsibilities of providing for the welfare of your dog, and
    • if applying without a sponsor, are in a financial position to contribute to the costs ($3,000 to $5,000) of your training fees for the dog and for contributing to the veterinary care and support of your trainee Assistance Dog

WHAT TYPE OF DOG DOES INTEGRA PROVIDE?

  • Integra provides Labrador or Labrador x Retriever breeds.
  • Integra does not provide non-allergenic dogs or small breed dogs.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A DOG?

  • Once your application is approved, it usually takes up to 6 months to provide a suitable dog and a further 6 – 12 months to complete training and the Public Access Test.

CAN I DEVELOP MY OWN DOG AS AN ASSISTANCE DOG?

  • Yes, on occasions Integra has worked with Handlers to assess and train their existing dogs to meet the requirements of an Assistance Dog.
  • Integra is unable to train existing dogs under the DVA PAD program.

HOW DOES THE TRAINING WORK?

  • Integra’s training involves placing the dog with the First Responder, ADF Member or Veteran (Handler). Our Trainers work directly with the Handler and their dog.
  • The program is structured and works through four phases:
    • Socialisation and Basis Orientation
    • Core Skills
    • Essential Skills
    • Advanced Skills
  • For further details on each phase please go to Our Program

Donate Now

Integra aims to ensure that its services are available to all First Responders and ADF Members and Veterans (not funded through the DVA PAD program) who need them at minimal cost. Integra provides all dog and travel-related expenses for the program. This support includes dog food, veterinary treatments, training and home support equipment, identification cards and other support documentation.

While First Responders, ADF Members and Veterans are asked to make some contribution towards these costs, it takes between 6-12 months and between $30,000-$40,000 a year for an Integra team to develop and train a dog and Handler and prepare it to complete the Public Access Test. Please consider donating If you’d like to support us in meeting these costs.

Integra is a registered charity, approved by the Australian Charities & Not For Profit Commission. Donations from the public and our corporate partners cover the costs of providing dogs to First Responders and those Veterans who are not funded through the DVA PAD program. Donations to Integra are tax deductible as approved by the Australian Taxation Office.

To donate to Integra please go to the Donate page.

Our Service Dog Training Program provides Veterans and First Responders with renewed purpose, confidence and unconditional support.