Service Tasks


  • Bring portable phone to any room in house
  • Unload suitable grocery items from bags
  • 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  
  • Assist to tidy house or yard – pickup, carry, deposit designated items
  • 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
  • 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
  • Fetch wheelchair when out of reach

CARRYING BASED TASKS (non retrieval)

  • Lug a basket of items around the house
  • Transport items to a specific location
  • Carry item(s) from the partner to a family member in another room
  • Send the dog to obtain food or other item from a family member and return with it.
  • Carry items following a partner
  • 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


  • 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


  • 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 exterior  home, office doors that open 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
  • Pull a drapery cord to open or close drapes
  • Assist to close hotel room drapes by tugging on edge near bottom of drape, backing up


  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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


  • 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 partner to turn over in bed; have appropriate backup plan

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
  • Pull partner in/out of aisle seat on plane, and help into/out of seat
  • 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.


  • Bark for help on command
  • Find a family member on command, lead back to location of 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

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