Frequantly Asked Questions

I have heard the terms, assistance dog, service dog and companion dog.  What do these mean?

In the UK, the term 'assistance dog' is used to describe a dog that helps to mitigate it's handlers disability in a minimum of 3 separate ways.

A 'service dog' is a dog trained and used by the police and armed forces in the UK.  This term confuses some people as service dog in the US means the same as assistance dog in the UK.

A 'companion dog' is often used as an aid to confidence for the handler.  These can request access to public areas but cannot demand it.

What is an ADIT?

This stands for 'Assistance Dog In Training'.

What are the access rights of an assistance dog?

While a dog is still in training to become an assistance dog, you can request to enter public areas but you cannot  demand it.  It is a good idea to phone ahead if you are in any doubt.  If you are requested to leave a public area you must do so without disputing the decision.

When fully qualified an assistance dog has a legal right to access most public areas with their designated handler.  If you are refused access please note where you have been refused access from, record who has refused the access and why, also record the date.  If needed Sherlock Hounds can provide a form that you can keep with you, you can then request for them to fill it in.  Please return this to Sherlock Hounds so that we can contact them directly.  It may be that they are unaware of the law.

Can a public place refuse me access on the basis that I owner train?

Owner trained assistance dogs have the same rights as program trained dogs.  The fact that you have owner trained, alone is not a reason for refusal to a public area. 

How did you come up with the name?

As my family and I watched me training my assistance dog in training, we commented on the fact that she investigates what is going on, comes to a conclusion and then acts.  This reminded us of our most favourite character of all - Sherlock Holmes.  From there I played with the name to come up with Sherlock Hounds Assistance Dogs.

Do you have a Facebook presence?

Yes.  We have a page so that if you search for Sherlock Hounds Assistance Dog you will  see this first.  The Facebook link at the bottom of this website also brings you to the Facebook page.   There is a secret group which is for those who have signed up to train their dog as an owner trainer under the umbrella of Sherlock Hounds.

What can you do on the Facebook group?

Discuss your training, successes, issues, ideas, tips, advice, knowledge.  Help each other to stay up to date on current Assistance Dog law in the UK.  All members opinions are valued, polls are posted if any alterations are to be made for members to give their opinion.

What can the group offer?

Assistance Dog Law information

Responsible Dog Ownership information

Example of Items that can be purchased

Price List


Sherlock Hounds Training Levels that you can follow

Public Access Test criteria

How do I join the secret group?

In the first instance you should either use the contact form on this website or you can email direct to


If you are wishing to join Sherlock Hounds we will email our terms and conditions.  If you agree with the terms and conditions in full a registration form will be sent to you.  Once completed you should email it back to our admissions clerk along with all relevent paperwork as detailed on the form.


Your paperwork is then processed.  If you are accepted as a member, you will receive an email welcoming you along with your membership number along with details of how to join the secret group.  Only members can acces the group and no member can add non members to the group.

What are the requirements of Sherlock Hounds Assistance Dogs to gain Assistance Dog recognition?

You will need to train your dog to high standards such as following Good Citizen Dog Scheme or equivalent.  If you are a member of the secret group on Facebook, I have provided a file on *Training Levels you can follow instead.

Each level should be completed, it is each members responsibility to gain certification from their local dog trainer of each level and provide proof.

Each team (handler & dog) should complete a minimum of one hundred and twenty (120) hours of schooling over a minimum period of eighteen (18) months or more.

Your dog should be trained or in training to perform a minimum of three (3) tasks that help to mitigate their handlers disability.

Each member must abide by all of the *House Rules and read each document in the files section within the Facebook group

Once all levels are completed and signed, you will need to work towards your *Public Access Test.  As with the training levels, this can be signed off by a competent person such as a relevantly qualified dog trainer.  The Assessment details, Sherlock Hounds Assistance Dogs requires, are available to members of the secret group.  Once achieved the member may purchase an Assistance Dog coat.  Equivalent assessments can be submitted, they will then be checked against Sherlock Hounds' standards and a decision will be made as to if the member in question has graduated with Sherlock Hounds.

 (*please request a copy if you do not have access to Facebook).

Why doesn't Sherlock Hounds Assistance Dogs, provide training and assessments?

There are many groups who already provide this service and it is Sherlock Hounds Assistance Dogs belief that those seeking this method are already provided for.

As an owner trainer myself I found that groups who offer this service are either inundated with requests and therefore cannot take on further teams or do not cover a range of disabilities.  Those that train remotely often misinterpret what is going on within the training or the team under or overstates matters which makes it extremely difficult to manage.  Both methods also come hand in hand with often costly expenses such as travel, hotel fees and course fees which many disabled people struggle to afford.

Having said this, I have found that many struggle with the idea of going completely alone and often do not know where to start or what is involved.  This is where Sherlock Hounds Assistance Dogs comes in.

How do I prove that I have been training my dog?

If you wish you can kep a *Training Log (example in files section of the Facebook group) which if required can be sent into Sherlock Hounds Assistance Dogs, but this is not a requirement and is up to each member.  This could simply be a log of how many hours you have spent training.

When you take assessments for your training levels and your public access test, you should either take a photo or scan in your certificate / letter and send it to Sherlock Hounds.  This will stay on file electronically under password protection.  This information can be called upon in the unlikely event that your dog's rights are called into question.

You may also film your assessments (if your trainer / examiner approves) and send this in to back up your certification.

(*please request a copy if you do not have access to Facebook).

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