Training a Mental Health Assistance Dog (MHAD) with Kirsten Dillon (NEW DATE)

Date: Saturday 16 November 2019
Time: 9:30am to 4pm
Venue: Abingdon & Witney College, Common Leys Campus, Common Leys Farm, Hailey, Witney, OX29 9UY 

Six demo places available

25 points of CPD for PACT members

Please click on tabs below for more info




Workshop details


This workshop will cover:

An introduction to working with people suffering from mental health difficulties

Diagnoses, symptoms, treatments and how these can affect you as a dog trainer.

Boundaries, safeguarding and lone working

Why these are so important with assistance dog work.

What makes a MHAD special?

Why is a MHAD different to another type of AD?

Choosing a suitable MHAD

Proven methods for sourcing and picking out dogs that may be more suited to becoming MHADs.

How to recognise, strengthen and support the essential bond between client and dog

Why this bond is so vital and how to make it the best it can be.

Training timetable for an MHAD (setting expectations)

How long does it take to train a dog for this type of work and what can you and your client expect?

Basic tasks to teach all MHAD and how to personalise them to individual clients

Learn the 3 basic tasks all MHAD dogs can use and how to personalise them to your particular partnership. Including recognising your dog’s strengths and preferences for training purposes.

Scent alerting and the part it plays in MHAD work

Investigating how much we can realistically train for and rely upon alerting via scent.

Public Access Test and qualifications

What do you need to do to make a dog into a legitimate assistance dog with public access rights? Discussing auxiliary aids and mitigating disabilities.


26 PLACES AVAILABLE ONLY – plus the opportunity for 6 delegate dogs to take part on a first come first serve basis 

PLEASE NOTE: This  workshop does not lead to a MHAD qualification. However a CPD attendance certificate will be emailed after the workshop.

Kirsten Dillon PACT KSA

Kirsten is an experienced behaviour-focused dog and animal trainer with over ten years’ experience in the industry. She is currently Head of Training at the Professional Association of Canine Trainers (PACT), is the former Head of Training and Behaviour of the charity Veterans With Dogs, and is Trainer and Assessor for Dog AID (Assistance in Disability). Kirsten’s specialism in the canine world is working with assistance dogs for mental health. As well as writing articles for canine industry publications, she is also an expert contributor to Dogs Monthly magazine.

For more information on Kirsten click here



Venue & Location


Date: Saturday 16 November 2019
Time: 9:30am to 4pm
Venue: Abingdon & Witney College, Common Leys Campus, Common Leys Farm, Hailey, Witney, OX29 9UY


This venue is dog friendly, however, unless you and your dog are taking part in the demos, we would ask you only bring your dog unless absolutely necessary.

  • Attending dogs must be dog, animal (e.g. livestock), and people-friendly, as well as safe.
  • Please note that as the venue is a farm campus, livestock and other animals, e.g. meerkats, are present on site.

Workshop fees


PACT Members and Students*: £75

*Please note: This discount applies to members and those students currently enrolled on the PACT course. It does not apply to external students.

Standard Fee (Non-PACT members): £85

Fee includes: workshop attendance, certificate of attendance, refreshments and light snacks.

Fee does not include lunch. Please bring your own lunch.

25 points of CPD for PACT members