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Donna Hill's

Service Dog Training Institute


List of Service Dog and
Assistance Dog Tasks or
What Your Dog Can Do For You

Service dog helping handler in wheelchair
While most people categorize the type of service dog by the tasks it does for the handler, all service dogs can be taught to do tasks for several different disabilities if they are needed by the handler. 

The key is to think about what things your dog can do to help you mitigate your specific disability or disabilities. As time and energy permits, other helpful tasks may be taught.

There is no limit to how many a dog can learn! Smart energetic dogs enjoy learning multiple tasks while average dogs with moderate energy levels are best taught a few key ones the handler requires on a daily basis.

Mobility Service Dog

Picks up small dropped objects and delivers them to hand or lap 
Retrieve mail/newspaper
Forward momentum
Counter balance
Go get help
Tug open doors, drawers and cupboards
Close doors, drawers and cupboards
Provides extra forward momentum on manual wheelchair
Retrieve a manual wheelchair
Assists taking off clothing from coats to socks
Strip sheets off bed
Loads clothes washer and dryer and empties both
Puts objects away-like garbage in a receptacle
Nudge arm or leg back onto bed, chair or wheelchair
Help person sit up
Turn lights on and off
Pull blankets on and off
Open and close blinds
Bracing on stairs
Pushes buttons to open doors
Raise legs to increase blood pressure
Place garbage in can/recycling in bins

Hearing Service Dog

Alert person to sounds-someone calling their name, smoke detectors, stove timers, alarm clocks, phone alarms, knock on door etc.
Lead person toward or away from the source of sound
Wake person up in an emergency
Alert to oncoming car behind handler
Alert to dropped item

Alzheimer's Service Dog

Let caregiver know person is on the move/alert to medical bed/chair alarms
Give ID documents others
Find keys
Medication reminder
Block handler from getting out of bed
Find Handler in house, yard, neighbourhood
Lead person home

Diabetic Alert Dog

Detects blood sugar drops and increases
Wakes person up if the low occurs during sleep
Carries or brings food and insulin

PTSD/Anxiety Service Dog

Interrupt self-harm
Interrupt dissociative state
Deep Pressure Therapy
Reminds person of things on regular schedule by responding to alarms
Wakes person from nightmares
Removes person from stressful situation
Tactile Stimulation
Find Exit
Help Crossing Streets
Turn Light on when coming in house/Intruder Detection
Remind Handler to go to sleep
Create space/block
Find an empty place to sit
Follow a person (hostess)
Alert handler to their strong emotion
Find the car
Interrupt freezing behaviour
Routine reminder persistence-alarm

Allergy Service Dog

Detect allergens on surfaces, in food and in the air
Leads person away from allergens
Provide pressure on chest to help cough/choking
Retrieve respiration device during attack.

Gluten Detection Service Dog

Detects tiny levels of gluten in products and food.
Find a bathroom (for water)

Autism Service Dog

Interrupt repetitive behaviour/stimming
Tactile Grounding
Retrieve tablet for communication with others
Take messages to other person
Tracking dog to find person with autism

Seizure Service Dog

Lay beside handler for warmth
Lay across chest to shorten seizure
Get Phone
Call for Help on phone
Detect and alert oncoming seizures
Place person in recovery position
Help orient the person after seizure/lick face

Wondering how to train your own service dog?

Check out our Service Dog Training Institute classes (for both human and dog).
If you want to learn how to train a service dog like a professional, these classes will give you the skills to do so and to train other pet dogs! You learn as your dog learns.

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