Mitigating Tasks for Disabilities

In the decades people have benefited from the assistance of service dogs, the list of mitigating tasks for various disabilities has grown exponentially. A service dog, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, must be individually trained to perform tasks specific to their handler’s disability. With the assistance of multiple service dog handlers, we have compiled a list of specialized tasks that are performed by Medical Alert, Medical Response, Mobility and Psychiatric service dogs around the globe. It is our hope that this list will better equip handlers for training their prospects to mitigate their disabilities.



Alerts play a vital role in ensuring the safety of a handler. Whether the alert is to an oncoming seizure so the handler may take necessary precautions for their safety or an alert to an approaching vehicle for a handler who is hearing impaired, these alerts can prove to be lifesaving and are a crucial part of many service dogs’ work.

  • Airborne Allergen
  • Alarm
  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety Attack
  • Approaching Person
  • Approaching Vehicle
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Blood Sugar
  • Car Horn
  • Caregiver to Problem
  • Doorbell
  • Food Allergen
  • Handler’s Name
  • Heart Rate*
  • Intruder
  • Knocking
  • Medication Reminder
  • Migraine*
  • Panic
  • Panic Attack
  • Routine Reminder
  • Seizure*
  • Siren
  • Sounds
  • Telephone

* These alerts have not been scientifically proven to be trainable.



Guide dogs make the world a safer, more accessible place for their handlers. They are entrusted with their handlers’ lives to perform potentially dangerous tasks such as crossing a busy street or leading their handler around various harmful and dangerous hazards.

  • Exit
  • Follow Individual
  • Help
  • Home
  • Indicate Barrier
  • Indicate Curbs
  • Indicate Drop-Offs
  • Indicate Stairs/Steps
  • Item
  • Lead Around Hanging Items
  • Lead Around Hazards
  • Lead Around Stationary Items
  • Location
  • Refuse to Move Forward if Unsafe
  • Safe Place



Interruptions are common tasks performed by psychiatric and autism service dogs and help keep handlers present and safe from harm. These tasks have helped countless handlers improve the quality of their lives by interrupting and preventing negative experiences and allowing the handler to experience life more fully.

  • Anxiety Attack
  • Crying
  • Dissociation
  • Flashbacks
  • Freezing
  • Nightmares
  • Panic Attack
  • Provide Distraction
  • Repetitive Behaviors
  • Scratching
  • Self-Harm
  • Skin Picking



When a handler is experiencing medical distress, they may rely on their service dog to guide them to a specific item, tool or place. Additionally, a handler can direct their dog to find a specific individual or locate general help if the handler is in need of human assistance.

  • Assigned Seat
  • Bathroom
  • Elevator
  • Empty Seat
  • Escalator
  • Handler
  • Help
  • Individual
  • Stairs
  • Vehicle



Mobility dogs are incredibly versatile and often perform multiple tasks ranging from retrievals and carrying items over long distances to providing stability and forward momentum. It is imperative that a mobility dog be under the guidance of a qualified veterinarian for the safety and wellbeing of the dog’s health and structure. There are specific height and weight ratios that must be met in order for the dog to work safely as a heavy mobility service dog.

  • Block From Dangers
  • Bracing
  • Carry Bag
  • Carry Items
  • Counterbalance
  • Deliver Items to Individual
  • Drag Heavy Items
  • Load/Unload Washer/Dryer
  • Momentum Pull
  • Paws-up For Easier Access
  • Pull and Hold Door Open
  • Pull Blankets On/Off
  • Pull Curtains Open/Closed
  • Pull Handler to Adjust Position
  • Push Floor Button for Lights
  • Push Paralyzed Limb into Place
  • Put Items Away
  • Remove Clothing or Socks
  • Roll Handler Onto Side
  • Throw Trash Away
  • Turn Lights On/Off



Some handlers experience difficulty while bending, pushing or pulling doors and find relief in having their service dog assist them with such tasks. Service dogs can also be trained to use special devices to open or close stationary doors or use their paws or nose to press handicap accessible buttons.

  • Cabinet
  • Dishwasher
  • Sliding Door
  • Swinging Door



Response tasks are common for handlers experiencing medical or psychiatric difficulties or emergencies and can often be trained to be automatically performed without direction from the handler. Not only do response tasks provide relief to handlers, but they can prove to be lifesaving in the most dire circumstances.

  • Block
  • Call 911
  • Call Pre-Programmed Number
  • Call Suicide Hotline
  • Cover
  • Crowd Control
  • Help Sit Upright
  • Help Turn Over
  • Lick Hands or Face
  • Pressure Therapy
  • Tactile Stimulation
  • Wake Handler
  • Watch Handler’s Back



Retrievals can be lifesaving for handlers who are incapacitated or who are experiencing a medical emergency, such as an allergic reaction in need of an EpiPen. Other retrievals can provide relief to a handler that may have experienced increased pain or difficulty while performing the task themselves.

  • Bag
  • Bottled Drink
  • Clothing
  • Dropped Items
  • Gear
  • Mail
  • Medication
  • Mobility Aid
  • Newspaper
  • Phone
  • Remote
  • Shoes
  • Tissues
  • Towel
  • Wallet


If you would like to suggest a task that may be missing from this list, please contact us and we will be happy to review your suggestion.