• Ahlaysia Benders

Defining Task Work

Task work is a trained behavior designed to help a person with their disability


Task categories

For service dogs, task work is a trained behavior designed to help a person with their disability. These behaviors are divided into two categories: passive tasks, and actively requested tasks.


Actively requested tasks are requested by the handler through verbal or signal cues when they are needed. This includes tasks such as retrieving items, crowd control, or forms of pressure therapy. On the other hand, passive tasks are often cued by changes in the handler or their environment and are not directly requested. These tasks are often used when the dog needs to provide a service that the handler is unable to accurately ask for due to their impairment. These services include but are not limited to alert work and guide work.


Types of tasks

The type of tasks you require from your service dog will depend on your disability needs. For this reason, tasks are often labeled under three main umbrella terms: mobility, psychiatric, and medical. These terms are based on the type of disability they are most commonly used for.


  • Mobility tasks are used for people who need help with mobility impairments. This includes tasks such as retrieving items, pulling, opening/ closing doors, providing support/ stability, and other daily needs that require mobility support.

  • Psychiatric tasks are for those with psychiatric impairments. This includes tasks such as pressure therapy, interruption, grounding, tactile stimulation, or any other task that helps with psychiatric disabilities.

  • Medical tasks are meant to help with medical needs. This includes tasks such as alerting to changes in body chemistry, allergen detection, guiding/ hearing tasks, keeping people safe during medical episodes, or any other tasks that aid people with medical disabilities.



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