Dogs can now have a human role in their care
Animals can now be trained to assist humans in their everyday lives.
The move has been welcomed by animal rights activists.
The Department of Health said it is introducing the new rule to help prevent dog owners mistreating animals and help people with pets.
The new rule allows for training in some animal-assisted activities such as therapy, teaching, and veterinary care.
The Department said training dogs for tasks such as socialising and walking, and helping people with animals, will not be considered dog training.
It said it aims to train animals with “the highest level of safety and welfare standards”.
It also said the rule does not apply to owners who have trained dogs for other purposes.
The department said it does not discriminate between training an animal and providing care for it.
“We recognise that dog owners will have different concerns about what types of activities and roles they want their dogs to perform,” the department said.
“However, they are encouraged to seek out information on their individual dog training needs to make the most informed decision for their dog.”