Medical Detection Dogs Partnership

Whether you are still deciding if an assistance dog is right for you, or you are looking for the right organisations to begin your assistance dog journey with, this page should give you all the information you need to get started. 

Assistance dogs are trained to support people with disabilities and medical conditions in a variety of ways. You can find out more about our members and the types of assistance dogs they train by visiting our members page.

If you can’t find what you are looking for here, check out our general information page

The only way to apply for an assistance dog from an ADUK Member is to apply directly to that member organisation. Visit our members page to identify which ADUK member would be most suitable to meet your needs and then contact them directly.

We also work with a range of assistance dog organisations that are working towards the same accreditation that our members have. You can find out more about the assistance dogs they train by visiting our candidate page.

ADUK does not train assistance dogs and is unable to tell you if you are eligible or to receive applications on behalf of any members.

Each ADUK Member has its own eligibility criteria and application process.

The only way to find out if you are eligible for an assistance dog from one of our members is to contact them directly.

Find out which member might be the right one for you by visiting our members page

Assistance dogs are trained to support people with disabilities and medical conditions in a variety of ways.

Assistance dogs that have been trained by a member of ADUK receive up to two years worth of training in order to support their partners.

The Equality Act 2010, (EA2012 section 173) lays out that in relation to protecting the rights of someone with a disability accessing private hire transport, an Assistance dog means
(a) a dog which has been trained to guide a blind person;
(b) a dog which has been trained to assist a deaf person;
(c) a dog which has been trained by a prescribed charity to assist a disabled person who has a disability that consists of epilepsy or otherwise affects the person’s mobility, manual dexterity, physical coordination or ability to lift, carry or otherwise move everyday objects;
(d) a dog of a prescribed category which has been trained to assist a disabled person who has a disability (other than one falling within paragraph (c)) of a prescribed kind.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission states that assistance dogs:

  • are highly trained
  • will not wander freely around the premises
  • will sit or lie quietly on the floor next to its owner and are trained to go to the toilet on command and so are unlikely to foul in a public place
  • Most are instantly recognisable by the harness or  identifying dog jacket they wear.

It is not a legal requirement for Assistance Dog users to provide ID or ‘proof’ of training but all ADUK members issue the people and dog partnerships they work with this information in the form of an ADUK Identification Booklet.

ADUK assistance dogs are dogs that have been trained by accredited member organisations of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF).
ADUK assistance dogs:

  • have been trained to behave well in public
  • have safe and reliable temperaments
  • are healthy and do not constitute a hygiene risk observed over a considerable period of time
  • are fully toilet-trained
  • are regularly checked by experienced veterinarians
  • are accompanied by a disabled handler who has received extensive training in how to work alongside their assistance dog
  • are recognisable by the harness, organisation specific coat, id tag on their collar or lead slip they wear

Assistance dog handlers receive ongoing training and/or support for the lifetime of the dog.

Two of ADUK’s Members train assistance dogs for children with Autism; Dogs for Good and Support Dogs. You can find out more about them on our members page.

Both of these members supply and train dogs that are specially selected to work with children.

ADUK currently has no members that support people to train their own pet dogs as Autism Assistance Dogs. However, Dogs for Good do run a Family Dog Service that gives advice and support to help families with an autistic child to get the most out of their relationship with their pet dog. Find out more about the Family Dog Service. 

ADUK is working with a range of organisations that are working towards the same accreditation that our members have and several of them train Autism Assistance Dogs for people of all ages. You can find out more about ADUK candidates by visiting our candidate page.

There are currently no ADUK members that train psychiatric assistance dogs.

ADUK is working with a range of assistance dog organisations that are working towards accreditation, and one of those might be able to support you.

You can find out more about ADUK candidates by visiting our candidate page.

There are currently no ADUK members that train assistance dogs or emotional support dogs to soothe or comfort people experiencing chronic pain.

Some of ADUK’s members might meet the needs of people who have disabilities or mobility needs as a result of chronic pain.

Visit our members page to identify which ADUK member would be most suitable to meet your needs and then contact them directly.

An emotional support dog (ESD) is a dog that provides comfort and companionship to its owner.

There is no doubt that all of the assistance dogs trained by ADUK members offer emotional support to their owners, but none of our members currently train emotional support dogs for the sole reason of bringing comfort or support.

In the UK emotional support animals do not have legal recognition in the way that assistance dogs do.

There is no register for emotional support dogs or assistance dogs in the UK, so it is not possible to register, validate or get an ADUK ID booklet for an emotional support dog.

Some websites claim that registering your emotional support dog with them (for a fee) will allow you the same rights as someone with an assistance dog by providing you with ID. There is no guarantee that this will increase your access rights.

According to the Society for Companion Animal Studies, a  therapy dog is a general term to describe a dog that is used to benefit people in a therapeutic way.  This includes quite a wide range of potential activities with a wide range of potential people and clients.  Some pets take part in visiting programmes, whilst others take part in structured activities as part of a therapeutic programme or practice

There are no ADUK members or candidates that offer training for people who want their dogs to become therapy dogs to help others.

The charity Pets As Therapy may be able to help.

Many people choose to train their own assistance dogs.

Two of ADUK’s members, Dog A.I.D and Support Dogs, support people with physical disabilities and mobility issues to train their own pet dogs as assistance dogs.

Visit the members page to identify which ADUK  member might be most suitable to meet your needs and then contact them directly.

People who train their own assistance dog, outside of working with ADUK members, cannot be issued with an ADUK Identification Booklet or any ADUK branded gear.

It is not possible to register an assistance dog in the UK, regardless of how, or by whom the dog is trained.

Disabled people who use assistance dogs are protected under the Equality Act 2010, regardless of who trained their assistance dog.

Whether you are bringing a new assistance dog into your privately rented home or renting a new home with your existing assistance dog, it is a good idea to talk with the landlord in advance.

If you are working with an ADUK member they should be able to provide support and advocacy for you if you experience any issues.

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is against the law for service providers, including landlords, rental agencies and housing associations to treat people with disabilities less favourably because of their disability, or because they rely on an assistance dog or guide dog.

Landlords, rental agencies and other housing providers must make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities who use assistance dogs.

A landlord may be required to make changes to any policies or practices they have which may disadvantage a tenant because of their disability. This includes making changes to a tenancy agreement. For example, saying pets are not allowed in the property should be changed to allow a person with a disability to have their assistance dog.

A landlord cannot increase rent or charge additional cleaning fees to assistance dog or guide dog owners, even if a contract states they charge extra for pet fees. An assistance dog should not be treated as a pet in this context. In the unlikely event of the assistance dog causing actual damage, charges could be made.

There is no register or certification process for assistance dogs in the UK. Whilst all assistance dogs trained by members of ADUK are issued an ADUK Identification Booklet, not all assistance dog owners have papers or ID, nor do they require ID by law.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced a useful resource that outlines people’s rights to accessible housing. Included in this guide is a case study involving an assistance dog owner.

Download ‘Accessible and
Adaptable Housing in England: A guide for disabled people and the organisations that support them’