The Giant List of Service Dog Tasks

Service Dog Tasks

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

We 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.

Service Dog Tasks: Alerts

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

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

Mobility and Stability Service Dog Tasks

  • Assist with Grounding.
  • Assisting with Position Changes (e.g. 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.
  • Dial Pre-Programmed Number on a Dog-Friendly Phone.
  • Call Suicide Hotline on a Dog-Friendly Phone.
  • Carry Grocery Bags.
  • Carry Purse.
  • Carrying 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 the wastebasket).
  • Clear a Room (enter ahead of the handler and check for intruders).
  • Closing 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 (e.g. at school, work, etc).
  • Finding Elevator/Stairs/Escalator.
  • Find Empty Seat.
  • Find the Car.
  • Open Sliding Door.
  • Open/Close Cabinet/Drawer.
  • Open/Close Dishwasher.
  • Opening/Closing Refrigerator.
  • Open/Close Bathroom Door.
  • Open Doors (handicapped button).
  • Opening Doors (pulling open using a tug).
  • Open Doors (pushing open with nose or paws).
  • Pull and Hold Heavy Door.
  • Pulling 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.

Interaction Service Dog Tasks

  • Bring a Note to a Person.
  • Crowd Control (circling).
  • Deliver a Credit Card or Money to a Cashier.
  • Delivering 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 (e.g. 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.
  • Interrupting Freezing Behavior.
  • Interrupt Harmful Behaviors.
  • Interrupting 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.
  • Providing Excuse to Leave Uncomfortable Situation.
  • Provide Pressure on the 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 (e.g. feed the dog, eat meals, go to sleep, etc).
  • Tactile Stimulation.
  • Wake Handler.

Guiding Service Dog Tasks

  • Avoid Moving Objects (while guiding).
  • Guide Home.
  • Guide to an Exit.
  • Guiding to Specific Item.
  • Guide to Specific Location.
  • Guide to Specific Person.
  • Guiding to a Safe Place.
  • Indicate Barrier (while guiding).
  • Indicating Curbs (while guiding).
  • Indicate Drop-Offs (while guiding).
  • Indicate Stairs/Steps (while guiding).
  • Lead Around Ground Hazards (while guiding).
  • Leading 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).
  • Retrieving Dog Bowls.
  • Retrieve Dropped Items.
  • Retrieve Emergency Medication.
  • Retrieving Items When Pointed To.
  • Retrieve Juice/Gatorade/Etc.
  • Retrieve Mobility Aid (e.g. Wheelchair, Cane, Walker, etc)
  • Retrieving Named Items.
  • Retrieve Phone.
  • Retrieve Purse/Wallet.
  • Retrieving Shoes.
  • Retrieve Tissue (when crying, sneezing, coughing).
  • Retrieve Towel (after a shower, bath).
  • Retrieving TV Remote.
  • Retrieve Vest/Harness/Leash/Gear.
  • Retrieve Water to Take Medication.
  • Retrieving Item from Store Shelf.
  • Retrieve Mail or Newspaper.

Impressed? The possibilities are endless. Finally, the ADA Regulations for Service Dogs defines the requirements. To qualify as a service dog, the dog must have been trained on a minimum of one valid task. A valid task directly helps eliviate the disability of the person. But that is just the minimum. Most service dogs are trained in a multitude of tasks. Obviously, the more your dog can do, the more valuable its service will be. Whatever your needs may be. We can help you. Contact us today for your service dog consultation.

Services and Area

We are located in Southern California and train service dogs nationwide. Hence, Total K9 Focus currently offers local service dog training in several areas. Riverside County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County, and San Diego County. In addition, we offer our service dog board and train program and all virtual training services nationwide.

Are you looking to get your own service dog? You came to the right place! We are experienced service dog trainers. Consequently, we can help you with any service dog request. For many of our clients, we train a service dog from puppyhood. However, we also evaluate the service dog potential of existing pets or rescue dogs. Our flagship product is our board and train program. In addition, we offer owner-trained service dog support. Further, provide virtual service dog training worldwide.

Further, we can add tasks to an existing service dog you already have. Or help you solve a tasking, training, or behavioral challenge you may face with your current service dog. We offer several service dog financing options to make it possible for you. We recommend you start by reading our article on what makes a good service dog. Next, review the Service Dog Consultation page to understand the high-level process. Finally, once you're ready to move forward, please use our service dog contact form to schedule your free consultation.