Veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder may soon be helped in their recovery by specially trained therapy dogs.
The federal government has announced a $2 million trial of assistance dogs as a supplement to clinical treatment for veterans with the condition.
Veterans' Affairs Minister Darren Chester says unlike pet or companion dogs, assistance dogs are specially trained to perform tasks that help in veterans' clinical recovery.
"Dogs are great company, good fun, loyal friends and anyone who has had a dog knows they can be incredibly beneficial for your wellbeing," he said on Wednesday.
The trial will match the breed and temperament of a dog with the participant.
The initial training and bonding process is expected to take 18 months before the placement of the dog with the veterans on a permanent basis.
Selection of the up to 20 participants will begin in early 2019, with dog or puppy selection taking place after that.
La Trobe University, in partnership with the Centre for Service and Therapy Dogs Australia, will undertake the trial of the dogs as a supplement to clinical treatment.
"We expect this project to make a meaningful difference to the lives of our veterans," Deputy Vice-Chancellor Keith Nugent said.