PAWS Logo

PAWS (Parents Autism Workshops and Support) brings together parents of children with autism, to share experiences and explore the potential that a pet dog might have within the family. The program has been running successfully in the UK and the Netherlands for the past two years.

The special chemistry shown between a child and a dog through Assistance Dogs Australia’s work providing Assistance Dogs for families with a child with autism, has led us to realise that whilst for some children there will be a clear need for a fully trained assistance dog, a well-trained family pet dog can also have a massively beneficial impact.

*Please note completion of these workshops are a prerequisite before we can accept an application for an Autism Service Dog.


Our workshops cover the important pros and cons to be considered when thinking of applying for a dog to help your child and your family.

The workshops are designed to provide parents with the information and long-term support for sourcing, choosing, handling and training a dog specifically to benefit a child with autism and the family as a whole.

Due to the structure of the workshops, they are not suitable for children and privately owned pet dogs to attend, unless otherwise advised. 

The workshops cover:

  • Questions you might have about owning a pet dog
  • How dogs can help a child with autism
  • Selecting the right dog to live with a child with autism
  • Options for finding a suitable pet dog
  • Things to think about when training a dog
  • Selecting an appropriate training club/trainer
  • Dog welfare and equipment needs

Upcoming workshops in 2018


To register for an upcoming workshop, please fill in the application by clicking on the  'Register now' button below.

Please note: Due to limited resources, we can only run workshops in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland. If you are located in a rural area of one of these states or another state, we may be able to run workshops in your area. We require a minimum of 10-15 interested families before a workshop can be organised, if you feel you can organise this number of people, please contact us.


Application Criteria

  • These workshops are open to parents of children and young adults with a clinical diagnosis of autism.
  • Workshops run from 9am-3pm.
  • Parents are welcome whether they already have a pet dog or not.
  • For the 2018 series, the cost will be $75 for the first parent and $35 for the second parent/carer in the same family for the three workshops. This covers resource packs and light refreshments.

Long-term Support Available

Following the workshops, the PAWS team will offer ongoing support to families, through a variety of channels. Including telephone support to an online forum and family support network.

For more information, please call 1800 688 364 or email us.

Each Assistance Dog costs over $35,000 to train

This includes everything from purchasing a puppy to food, vaccinations, training and placement. Assistance Dogs are provided free of charge to people in need.

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