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  • Writer's pictureJaime

Ultimate List of Service Dog Tasks

Updated: Jun 6, 2023


SERVICE DOG TASKS ARE OFTEN USED TO HELP MITIGATE PHYSICAL, PSYCHIATRIC COGNITIVE, AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.

A SERVICE DOG IS NOT A SERVICE DOG WITHOUT TASKING.

THERE ARE MANY TYPES OF SERVICE DOGS. THE TYPE OF SERVICE DOG DEPENDS NOT ON THE TASKS) BUT ON THE PERSON’S DISABILITY. THIS IS BECAUSE A SERVICE DOG LEARNS TASKS BEST SUITED FOR THEIR HANDLER OR FUTURE HANDLER'S DISABILITY AS OPPOSED TO A PERSON TRYING TO MATCH THEIR DISABILITY TO A DOG'S ALREADY LEARNED TASKS.

THIS MEANS THAT A SERVICE DOG CAN HAVE GUIDING TASKS (EX: GUIDING OUT OF A DANGEROUS SITUATION FOR A HANDLER’SPSYCHIATRIC DISABILITY) BUT NOT BE A GUIDE DOG. INSTEAD, THEY ARE PSYCHIATRIC SERVICE DOGS BECAUSE THE HANDLER HAS A PSYCHIATRIC-RELATED DISABILITY THIS HANDLER'S SERVICE DOG MAY TASK IN MANY OTHER WAYS AS WELL.

 

LIST OF MOST COMMONLY KNOWN TASKS

ALERTS TO NOISES:

• ALERT HANDLER TO ANOTHER PERSON OR CHILD CRYING/CALLING/YELLING • ALERT TO ALARM       • ALERT TO APPROACHING CAR •ALERT TO CAR HORN • ALERT TO DOORBELL/KNOCKING •ALERT TO HANDLER'S NAME • ALERT TO PHONE • ALERT TO SIREN • ALERT TO SMOKE ALARM •ALERT TO HORN HONKING • ALERT TO SOUNDS • ALERT TO UNHEARD DROPPED ITEM •ALERT TO SPECIFIC, ENVIRONMENT SOUNDS (ALARMS, BABY CRYING KNOCKING, HONKING ETC.) ALERT TO BELLS •ALERT TO ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

ALERTS TO PHYSIOLOGIC OR PSYCHOLOGICAL CHANGES:

•ALERT TO HIGH BLOOD SUGAR •ALERT TO LOW BLOOD SUGAR ALERT TO SYNCOPAL EPISODE •ALERT TO SPIKE IN HR •ALERT TO CHEMICALLY RELATED PARALYSIS •ALERT TO ADRENALINE DUMP •ALERT TO FATIGUE CRASH •ALERT TO RISE IN CORTISOL •ALERT TO SEIZURE •ALERT TO MIGRAINE •ALERT TO PANIC ATTACK •ALERT HANDLER TO EPISODES OF RAGE OR STRONG EMOTION •ALERT TO DISSOCIATION •ALERT TO ANXIOUS BEHAVIORS •ALERT TO SLEEP ATTACK

 

OTHER ALERTS:

•ALERT TO TAKE MEDICATION (REMINDER) •ALERT TO ALLERGEN IN FOOD •ALERT TO ALLERGEN IN THE AREA •ROUTINE REMINDERS (FEED DOG, SLEEP, WAKE UP) •ALERT CAREGIVER OR GUARDIAN TO EMERGENCY

 

INTERRUPTION TASKS:

•INTERRUPT CRYING •INTERRUPT DISSOCIATION •INTERRUPT FLASHBACK •INTERRUPT FREEZING BEHAVIOR •INTERRUPT HARMFUL BEHAVIORS •INTERRUPT NIGHTMARE •INTERRUPTPANIC/ANXIETY ATTACK • INTERRUPT REPETITIVEBEHAVIORS •INTERRUPT SCRATCHING/SKIN PICKING LICK FACE/HANDS

 

OPEN/CLOSING TASKS:

•ANSWER DOOR •OPEN DOORS (HANDICAPPED BUTTON) •OPEN DOORS (PULLING OPEN USING A TUG) •OPEN DOORS (PUSHING OPEN WITH NOSE OR PAWS) •OPEN SLIDING DOOR •OPEN/CLOSE CABINET/DRAWER •OPEN/CLOSE BATHROOM DOOR •OPEN/CLOSE DISHWASHER •OPEN/CLOSE REFRIGERATOR

 

GETTING HELP:

•BARK FOR HELP ON COMMAND •ALERT FAMILY MEMBER •ALERT STRANGER FOR HELP •GO FIND HELP/SPECIFIC PERSON •CALL ON A DOG-FRIENDLY PHONE •CALL A PRE PROGRAMMED NUMBER ON A DOG-FRIENDLY PHONE •CALL SUICIDE HOTLINE ON A DOG-FRIENDLY PHONE

 

RETRIEVING TASKS:

•RETRIEVE CLOTHING ITEMS •RETRIEVE DOG BOWLS •RETRIEVE DROPPED ITEMS • RETRIEVE EMERGENCY MEDICATION • RETRIEVE SELF CARE KIT •RETRIEVE ITEMS WHEN POINTED TO•RETRIEVE WATER/JUICE /GATORADE/ETC.•RETRIEVE MOBILITY AID (WHEELCHAIR, CANE, WALKER, ETC. •RETRIEVE NAMED ITEMS • RETRIEVE PHONE • RETRIEVE PURSE/WALLET •RETRIEVE SHOES •RETRIEVE TISSUE (WHEN CRYING, SNEEZING, COUGHING) •RETRIEVE TOWEL (AFTER SHOWER BATH •RETRIEVE TV REMOTE • RETRIEVE VEST/HARNESS/HASH/GLAR-RETRIEVE LTEM FROM STORE SHELF •RETRIEVE MAIL OR NEWSPAPER

 

GUIDING TASKS:

•GUIDING •INDICATE BARRIER WHILE GUIDING) INDICATE CURBS (WHILE GUIDING) • INDICATE DROP-OFFS (WHILE GUIDING •INDICATE STAIRS/STEPS (WHILE GUIDING) •AVOID MOVING OBJECTS (WHILE GUIDING) •LEAD AROUND GROUND HAZARDS (WHILE GUIDING} •LEAD AROUND LOW-HANGING ITEMS WHILE GUIDING LEAD AROUND STATIONERY ITEMS (WHILE GUIDING) •GUIDE TO AN EXIT •GUIDE TO SPECIFIC ITEM •GUIDE TO SPECIFIC LOCATION OR PLACE •GUIDE TO A BATHROOM •GUIDE TOSTAIRS/ELEVATOR/ESCALATOR •GUIDE TO THE CAR FIND EMPTY SEAT FOLLOW DESIGNATED PERSON •FIND HANDLER (RUNNERS, WANDERERS, LOST HANDLER) •REFUSE TO MOVE IF NOT SAFE (BUSY ROAD, AWAY FROM HOME, ETC: •BLOCK FROM MOVING TOWARDS DANGER (BUSY ROAD, AWAY FROM HOME, ETC.

 

CARRYING/HOLDING TASKS:

•CARRY GROCERY BAGS •CARRY PURSE •CARRY ITEMS UP OR DOWN STAIRS •DRAG HEAVIER ITEMS TO SPECIFIC LOCATION •DRAG LAUNDRY BASKET •DELIVER CREDIT CARD OR MONEY TO A CASHIER •DELIVER ITEMS FROM CASHIER TO HANDLER •BRING A NOTE TO PERSON •DELIVER ITEM TO PERSON

 

PROVISION TASKS:

•PROVIDE DISTRACTION •PROVIDE EXCUSE TO LEAVE UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATION •COVER •BLOCK •CHECK THE ROOM •CLEAR A ROOM •CROWD CONTROL (CIRCLING) •LIGHT PRESSURE THERAPY •TACTILE STIMULATION DEEP PRESSURE THERAPY •LAY ACROSS CHEST OF SEIZING HANDLER TO REDUCE DURATION OF SEIZURE •COVERING BODY OF HANDLER TO ASSIST WITH TEMPERATURE REGULATION PROVIDE PRESSURE ON CHEST TO PRODUCE COUGH •PUSH FLOOR BUTTON TO TURN ON LAMP •PUSH PARALYZED LIMB BACK INTO PLACE •PROVIDING A SPACIAL BLOCK IN BETWEEN THE HANDLER AND ANOTHERPERSON(S).

 

MOBILITY TASKS:

•ASSIST WITH POSITION CHANGES (SITTING, STANDING, LAYING, SITTING, ETC) •HELP SIT UP IF SLUMPED OVER •HELP WITH TURNING OVER •ROLLHANDLER HIS/HER SIDE (BY NUDGING, PULLING OFF AND ON CLOTHING) •COUNTER-BALANCE •FORWARD MOMENTUM (IN A WHEELCHAIR) •FORWARD MOMENTUM (WHEN WALKING) •PROVIDE MOMENTUM UP INCLINES •PROVIDE MOMENTUM UP STAIRS •PULL WHEELCHAIR •BRACING •HELP HANDLER INTO BATHTUB OR SHOWER •HELP HANDLER OUT OF BATHTUB OR SHOWER •PULL HANDLER WITH STRAP (TO CHANGE POSITIONS) • HELP PUTTING ON DOG GEAR

 

DAILY HELP:

•TURN OFF LIGHTS (WITH PAW; NOSE OR TEETH) •TURN ON LIGHTS (WITH PAW, NOSE OR TEETH •CLOSING DOORS (PULLING CLOSED WITH A TUG OR WITH NOSE OR PAWS) PULL BLANKETS OFF/ON •PULL BLINDS/CURTAINS CLOSED OPEN HELP PUT CLOTHING ON •HELP REMOVE CLOTHING •CLEAN UP ITEMS ON THE FLOOR (PUT IN BASKET) •CLEAN UP AND THROW AWAY TRASH (PUT IN WASTEBASKET) UNLOAD GROCERY ITEMS UNLOAD ITEMS FROM THE WASHER OR DRYER •CLOSE WASHER/DRYER WITH PAW OR NOSE) •CLOSE BATHROOM STALL •ASSIST WITH MAKING BED

 

THERE IS NO "ONE SIZE FITS ALL" FOR TASKING.TWO PEOPLE CAN HAVE THE SAME CHRONIC CONDITIONS BUT NEED COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TASKS. IF A TASK IS NOT HELPING A PERSON’SDISABILITY ITS ACTUALLY CONSIDERED A TRICK.MORE TASKS DO NOT EQUAL A BETTER SERVICE DOG. A GOOD SERVICE DOG RELIABLY TASKS.

 

 

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