The Giant List of Service Dog Tasks

Service Dog Task List

The ways in which service dogs can help persons with disabilities are endless. The following list of service dog tasks can give you an idea of what is possible but this is by no means a complete list. If you are looking for a unique service task, contact us and we will discuss if this can be taught and develop a personalized training plan for you.

I grouped the tasks into several categories to make this list easier to understand. However, these groupings should not be viewed as exclusive. For example, a task listed under mobility may also be trained for a guide dog. Or a PTSD Service Dog will be trained for tasks from multiple categories based on personal needs.

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Service Dog Tasks: Alerts

  • Alert Family Member
  • Alert Handler to Another Person or Child Crying/Calling/Yelling
  • Alert for Help
  • Alert to Alarm
  • Alert to Allergen in Food
  • Alert to Allergen in the Area
  • Alert to Approaching Car
  • Alert to Car Horn
  • Alert to Dangerous Medical Levels in the Body (Blood Pressure, Cortisol, etc) *
  • Alert to Doorbell/Knocking
  • Alert to Handler's Name Being Called
  • Alert to Intruder
  • Alert to Person Coming Up Behind
  • Alert to Phone
  • Alert to Seizure *
  • Alert to Siren
  • Alert to Sounds
  • Alert to Unheard Dropped Item

* We train this task successfully but it has not been scientifically proven to be possible.

Service Dog Tasks: Mobility and Stability

  • Assist with Grounding
  • Assist with Position Changes (Sitting to Standing, Laying to Sitting, etc)
  • Assist with Transfers
  • Counter-Balance
  • Forward Momentum (in a wheelchair)
  • Forward Momentum (when walking)
  • Provide Momentum Up Inclines
  • Provide Momentum Up Stairs
  • Pull Handler with Strap (to change positions)
  • Wheelchair Pulling
  • Answer the Door

Service Dog Tasks: Environment Actions

  • Block approaching persons/animals, etc.
  • Block from Moving Towards Danger (busy road, away from home, etc)
  • Call 911 on a Dog-Friendly Phone
  • Call Pre-Programmed Number on a Dog-Friendly Phone
  • Call Suicide Hotline on a Dog-Friendly Phone
  • Carry Grocery Bags
  • Carry Purse
  • Carry Items Up or Down Stairs
  • Check the House
  • Clean Up Items on the Floor (put in basket)
  • Clean-Up Trash on the Floor (put in wastebasket)
  • Clear a Room (enter ahead of the handler and check for intruders)
  • Close Washer/Dryer (with paw or nose)
  • Close Bathroom Stall Door
  • Closing Doors (pulling closed with a tug)
  • Closing Doors (pushing closed with nose or paws)
  • Drag Heavy Items to Specific Location
  • Drag Laundry Basket
  • Find a Bathroom
  • Find Assigned Seat (at school, work, etc)
  • Find Elevator/Stairs/Escalator
  • Find Empty Seat
  • Find the Car
  • Open Sliding Door
  • Open/Close Cabinet/Drawer
  • Open/Close Dishwasher
  • Open/Close Refrigerator
  • Open/Close Bathroom Door
  • Open Doors (handicapped button)
  • Open Doors (pulling open using a tug)
  • Open Doors (pushing open with nose or paws)
  • Pull and Hold Heavy Door
  • Pull Blankets Off/On
  • Pull Blinds/Curtains Closed/Open
  • Push Floor Button to Turn on Lamp
  • Throw Away Trash
  • Turn Off Lights (with paw, nose or teeth)
  • Turn On Lights (with paw, nose or teeth)
  • Unload Grocery Items
  • Unload Items From the Washer or Dryer
  • Watch My Back

Service Dog Tasks: Interactions

  • Bring a Note to Person
  • Crowd Control (circling)
  • Deliver Credit Card or Money to a Cashier
  • Deliver Items from Cashier to Handler
  • Deliver Item to Person
  • Find a Specific Person
  • Follow a Designated Person
  • Go Find Help

Service Dog Tasks: Personal Actions

  • Clean out a person's mouth (vomit, etc.)
  • Cover
  • Crying Interruption/Response
  • DPT (Deep Pressure Therapy)
  • Find Handler
  • Find Disabled Handler (runners, wanderers, lost handler)
  • Flashback Interruption
  • Help Sit Up if Slumped Over
  • Help With Turning Over
  • High Blood Sugar Alert
  • Interrupt Dissociation
  • Interrupt Freezing Behavior
  • Interrupt Harmful Behaviors
  • Interrupt Panic/Anxiety Attack
  • Interrupt Repetitive Behaviors
  • Interrupt Scratching/Skin Picking
  • Lick Face/Hands
  • Diabetic Alert
  • Medication Reminders
  • Nightmare Interruption
  • Panic/Anxiety Alert
  • Paws Up to Help With Putting on Dog Gear
  • Provide Distraction
  • Provide Excuse to Leave Uncomfortable Situation
  • Provide Pressure on Chest to Produce Cough
  • Push Paralyzed Limb Back into Place
  • Remove Socks or Other Clothing
  • Respond to Anxious Behaviors
  • Roll Handler Onto Their Side (by nudging, pulling clothing)
  • Routine Reminders (feed dog, eat meals, go to sleep, etc)
  • Tactile Stimulation
  • Wake Handler

Service Dog Tasks: Guiding

  • Avoid Moving Objects (while guiding)
  • Guide Home
  • Guide to an Exit
  • Guide to Specific Item
  • Guide to Specific Location
  • Guide to Specific Person
  • Guide to a Safe Place
  • Indicate Barrier (while guiding)
  • Indicate Curbs (while guiding)
  • Indicate Drop-Offs (while guiding)
  • Indicate Stairs/Steps (while guiding)
  • Lead Around Ground Hazards (while guiding)
  • Lead Around Low Hanging Items (while guiding)
  • Lead Around Stationary Items (while guiding)
  • Refuse to Move Forward if Not Safe

Service Dog Tasks: Retrieval

  • Retrieve Clothing Items (teach your dog to retrieve)
  • Retrieve Dog Bowls
  • Retrieve Dropped Items
  • Retrieve Emergency Medication
  • Retrieve Items When Pointed To
  • Retrieve 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 a shower, bath)
  • Retrieve TV Remote
  • Retrieve Vest/Harness/Leash/Gear
  • Retrieve Water to Take Medication
  • Retrieve Item from Store Shelf
  • Retrieve Mail or Newspaper

Impressed? The possibilities are endless. According to the ADA Regulations on Service Dogs, to qualify as a service dog, the dog must have been trained on a minumum of one task directly related to the disability. But that is just the minimum. Most service dogs are trained in a multitude of tasks from this list. The more your dog can do, the more valuable its service will be. Whatever your needs may be. I can help you. Contact me today to get started.

Based out of Riverside County, we currently offer local Service Dog Training in the following areas: Riverside County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County and San Diego County. We offer Service Dog board and train and all coaching services nationwide.

Contact Sarah here for scheduling a consultation to discuss how she can help you best.