The following are general tasks for service dogs. This list may not be fully inclusive as each individual's needs may differ.
RETRIEVE BASED TASKS
- Bring portable phone to any room in house;
- Bring in groceries - up to ten canvas bags;
- Unload suitable grocery items from canvas sacks;
- Fetch a beverage from a refrigerator or cupboard;
- Fetch food bowl(s);
- Pick up dropped items like coins, keys etc., in any location;
- Bring clothes, shoes, or slippers laid out to assist with dressing;
- Unload towels, other items from dryer;
- Retrieve purse from hall, desk, dresser or back of van;
- Assist to tidy house or yard - pickup, carry, deposit designated items;
- Fetch basket with medication and/or beverage from cupboard;
- Seek & find teamwork - direct the dog with hand signals, vocal cues to: retrieve an unfamiliar object out of partner's reach, locate TV remote control, select one of several VCR tapes atop TV cabinet, other surfaces;
- Remove VCR tape from machine after eject button pushed;
- Use target stick to retrieve an indicated item off shelves in stores retrieve one pair of shoes from a dozen in closet;
- Use laser pointer to target an item to be retrieved;
- Drag Cane from its customary location to another room;
- Pick up and return cane if falls off back of wheelchair;
- Pickup or fetch Canadian crutches from customary location;
- Drag walker back to partner;
- Fetch wheelchair when out of reach;
CARRYING BASED TASKS (non retrieval)
- Move bucket from one location to another, indoors & outdoors;
- Lug a basket of items around the house;
- Transport items downstairs or upstairs to a specific location;
- Carry item(s) from the partner to a care-giver or family member in another room;
- Send the dog to obtain food or other item from a care-giver and return with it;
- Dog carries a prearranged object to care-giver as a signal help is needed;
- Carry items following a partner using a walker, other mobility aids;
- Pay for purchases at high counters;
- Transfer merchandise in bag from a clerk to a wheelchair user's lap;
- Carry mail or newspaper into the house;
DEPOSIT BASED TASKS
- Put trash, junk mail into a wastebasket or garbage can;
- Deposit empty soda pop can or plastic bottle into recycling bin;
- Assist partner to load clothing into top loading washing machine;
- Dirty food bowl [dog's] - put into kitchen sink;
- Put silverware, non breakable dishes, plastic glasses in sink;
- Deliver items to "closet" [use a floor marker to indicate drop location];
- Deposit dog toys into designated container;
- Put prescription bag, mail, other items on counter top.
TUG BASED TASKS
- Open cupboard doors with attached strap;
- Open drawers via strap;
- Open refrigerator door with a strap or suction cup device;
- Open interior doors via a strap with device to turn knob
- Answer doorbell and open front door with strap attached to lever handle;
- Open or close sliding glass door with a strap or other tug devices;
- Shut restroom door that opens outward via a leash tied to doorknob;
- Close stall door that opens outward in restroom by delivering end of the leash to partner;
- Shut interior home, office doors that open outward;
- Shut motel room exterior door that opens inward;
- Assist to remove shoes, slippers, sandals;
- Tug socks off without biting down on foot;
- Remove slacks, sweater, coat;
- Drag heavy coat, other items to closet;
- Drag laundry basket through house with a strap;
- Drag bedding to the washing machine;
- Wrestle duffle bag or other objects from the van into the house;
- Pull a drapery cord to open or close drapes;
- Assist to close motel room drapes by tugging on edge near bottom of drape, backing up;
- Operate rope device that lifts blanket and sheet or re-covers disabled person when he or she becomes too hot or cold;
- Alternatively, take edge of a blanket and move backwards, tugging to remove it or assist someone to pull the blanket up to their chin if cold.
NOSE NUDGE BASED TASKS
- Cupboard door or drawers - nudge shut
- Dryer door - hard nudge
- Stove drawer - push it shut
- Dishwasher door - put muzzle under open door, flip to shut
- Refrigerator & freezer door - close with nudge
- Call 911 on K-9 rescue phone - push the button
- Operate button or push plate on electric commercial doors
- Turn on light switches
- Push floor pedal device to turn on lamp
- Turn on metal based lamps with touch-lamp device installed - nudge base
- Assist wheelchair user to regain sitting position if slumped over
- Help put paralyzed arm back onto the armrest of wheelchair
- Return paralyzed foot to the foot board of a wheelchair if it is dislodged
PAWING BASED TASKS (some dogs prefer it to nose nudge)
- Cupboard door - shut it with one paw
- Dryer door - shut it with one paw
- Refrigerator & freezer door - one forepaw or both
- Call 911 on K-9 rescue phone - hit button with one paw
- Operate light switch on wall - jump up, paw the switch
- Depress floor pedal device to turn on appliance(s) or lamp
- Jump up to paw elevator button [steady dog if he tries it on slippery tile floor]
- Operate push plate on electric commercial doors
- Close heavy front door, other doors - jump up, use both forepaws
BRACING BASED TASKS (no harness)
- Transfer assistance from wheelchair to bed, toilet, bathtub or van seat - hold Stand Stay position, then brace on command, enabling partner to keep their balance during transfer.
- Assist to walk step by step, brace between each step, from wheelchair to nearby seat.
- Position self and brace to help partner catch balance after partner rises from a couch or other seats in a home or public setting.
- Prevent fall by bracing on command if the partner needs help recovering balance.
- Steady partner getting in or out of the bathtub.
- Assist partner to turn over in bed; have appropriate backup plan.
- Pull up partner with a strap [tug of war style] from floor to feet on command, then brace till partner catches balance.
HARNESS BASED TASKS - Mobility Assistance
- (Only appropriate for large sturdy adult dogs with sound joints, proper training).
- Assist moving wheelchair on flat [partner holds onto harness pull strap] avoiding obstacles.
- Work cooperatively with partner to get the wheelchair up a curb cut or mild incline; handler does as much of the work as possible, never asking the dog to attempt an incline unaided.
- Haul open heavy door, holding it ajar using six foot lead attached to back of harness, other end of lead attached to door handle or to a suction cup device on a glass door.
- Tow ambulatory partner up inclines [harness with rigid handle or pull strap may be used].
- Brace on command to prevent ambulatory partner from stumbling [rigid handle].
- Help ambulatory partner to climb stairs, pulling then bracing on each step [rigid handle or harness with pull strap may be used to assist partner to mount a step or catch balance].
- Pull partner out of aisle seat on plane, then brace until partner catches balance [harness with a rigid handle and a pull strap, or pull strap only].
- Brace, counter balance work too, assisting ambulatory partner to walk; the partner pushes down on the rigid handle as if it were a cane, after giving warning command, when needed.
- Help ambulatory partner to walk short distance, brace between each step [rigid handle].
- Transport textbooks, business supplies or other items up to 50 lbs in a wagon or collapsible cart, weight limit depends on dog's size, physical fitness, type of cart, kind of terrain.
- Backpacking - customary weight limit is 15% of the dog's total body weight;10% if a dog performing another task, such as wheelchair pulling in addition to backpacking; total weight includes harness (average 3 - 4 lbs.). Load must be evenly distributed to prevent chafing.
OTHER KINDS OF ASSISTANCE IN CRISIS
- Bark for help on command
- Find the care-giver on command, lead back to location of disabled partner.
- Put forepaws in lap of wheelchair user, hold that upright position so wheelchair user can access medication or cell phone or other items in the backpack.
- Wake up partner if smoke alarm goes off, assist to nearest exit
MEDICAL ASSISTANCE TASKS (Sample)
- Operate push button device to call 911, an ambulance service or another person to help in a crisis; let emergency personnel into home and lead to partner's location.
- Fetch insulin kit, respiratory assist device or medication from customary place during a medical crisis.
- Lie down on partner's chest to produce a cough, enabling patient to breath, when suction machine and/or care-giver unavailable.