Defence Bank - Defence Community Dogs

Defence Community Dogs


Defence Community Dogs manages the Dog Training program which rescues abandoned dogs and trains them become Companion Therapy Dogs to assist Veterans coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). At present, most of the dogs in the program are trained at the Bathurst Correctional Centre with the assistance of trainers and inmates at the Centre while under the guidance of one of Australia’s leading Dog Trainers, Steve Austin. 


Each Defence Community Dog is carefully assessed before being accepted into the program and is then trained to the level of ‘Advanced Companion Therapy Dog’.  Once a dog has reached this advanced level, they are partnered with a suitable veteran.  Each dog will remain in the program for at least 6 months. The cost to train and maintain the dog is significant and runs into the thousands of dollars for each dog. The dog is supplied to the veteran at no cost to them.


Defence Community Dogs is fully funded by The Defence Bank Foundation, a registered charity which raises funds to support serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members suffering from injuries or illnesses such as PTSD. 


About the Bathurst Correctional Centre Program


-          This program is the only program in Australia where inmates train abandoned and mistreated dog specifically to help support injured and ill Australian Defence Force members.


-          This specialist program rescues dogs from pounds and shelters.  The animals are then cared for and intensely trained by offenders to become Companion Therapy Dogs for Australian Defence Force veterans who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


-          Specially selected inmates are placed into the program as part of their rehabilitation program. Each inmate trains at least one dog through to graduation.  This usually takes around 6 months.  The Dogs will also complete at least 100 hours of specialised training with a professional Dog Trainer and will be trained specifically to recognise the symptoms of PTSD and techniques to support the veteran.


This is a program which is giving rescue dogs a second chance, an inmate a second chance and a veteran a second chance. This program is saving lives in so many ways.