Associació Canuck is an assistance dog organisation accredited under the Public Access for Assistance Dogs law (2009) in Catalonia, Spain.
What is an Assistance Dog?
An assistance dog lives with and aids a disabled person. It is specifically task-trained to help mitigate their partner’s disability. Assistance dogs are selected and trained by organisations who provide the working dogs to disabled people, creating a working team. The success of the team relies on two key factors: the dog’s excellent training and the special bond that is formed between the person and the assistance dog.
In Catalonia there are five types of assistance dogs as recognised by the law (19/2009 of 26 November) regarding public access for people accompanied by assistance dogs.
- Guide Dogs
- Medical Alert Dogs
- Service Dogs
- Autism Spectrum Dogs
- Hearing Dogs
And two types that are not officially recognised in Catalonia:
- Facility Dogs
- Psychiatric Service Dogs
Our definition of assistance dogs does not include:
- Emotional-support dogs
- Dogs trained to assist/protect women in vulnerable situations
Assistance Dog basics:
1) The dog’s partner has a disability that meets the legal definition of disability according to the government of Catalunya.
2) To be an officially recognised assistance dog, it must be trained and accredited by a centre approved by the government of Catalunya.
3) The dog must be specifically trained to alleviate the person’s disability. Examples of this may include retrieving dropped objects; detecting high blood sugar levels; alerting to sounds (telephone, doorbell, alarms); leading those who are visually impaired; responding to autism spectrum behaviour…
4) The dog must be trained for public access; an assistance dog that is carrying out its duties is always under control, calm and well-behaved. It must always be healthy and in optimal hygienic condition.
5) While working in public, all assistance dogs must wear a vest. In Catalonia these are blue and must sport the decal of the organisation responsible for their training and accreditation, as well as the Catalonian government badge. The dog also wears a dog tag with identification.
What can you do?
- Do not touch it, pat it, talk to it, or impede its work in any other way.
- Note the name of the organisation that is responsible for the dog and reach out to them. Tell them the dog was working well, let them know how you felt upon seeing the team at work, and if you wish to show your appreciation even further, ask if you can make a donation or help in any way!
What do our assistance dogs mean to people? Here is a video of our dogs in training and at work.
(Associació Canuck was formerly known as Positivas Can).