Purpose of a service dog

The purpose of a service dog is to assist a person with physical disability in their everyday activities. A service dog can be trained to assist in a multitude of tasks. Followed by the basic training, each dog is then individually trained for a specific skill set to meet the needs of their future handler. If required, the handler can continue to train the dog throughout its working life, with the support of a professional trainer.

Not all service dog handlers sit in a wheelchair; some also walk. These handlers often need assistance in maintaining their balance as well as retrieving and carrying items.

Among other things, the duties of a service dog may include:

  •  providing support and balance for an ambulatory                   handler;
  •   turning light switches on and off;
  •   pressing buttons, for example to call a lift;
  •   opening and closing doors;
  •   retrieving items and moving and/or carrying them; 
  •   assisting in dressing and undressing

Furthermore, dogs can be taught special tasks, such as:

  •  lifting their handler’s hand back on to the control panel of an electric wheelchair
  •  changing the position of their handler’s feet on the wheelchair footrest;
  •  helping their handler turn in bed
  •  helping their handler get up if they fall down;
  •  alerting others for help; and
  •  alerting to various medical issues.