Service dogs perform many tasks for individuals with all kinds of disabilities. One very common example would be blind individuals using service dogs to guide them when they are walking. A dog is a service dog by its ability to provide a disabled individual with assistance in performing one or more tasks that are limited by their disability.
Types of Service Dogs
Alert Dog (or Response Dog) – Alerts dogs help individuals who suffer from seizures or blood pressure issues by alerting them when they may be having an episode, reminding them to take their medication, or a similar task.
Hearing Dog – Help individuals who are hearing-impaired or deaf by alerting them to the presence of other people, hazards, alarms, and other sounds.
Psychiatric Dogs – Assist individuals who have cognitive or neurological disabilities such as Alzheimer’s, Autism, or other related disorders. Service dogs can perform many different tasks for individuals with a disability that falls under this category, as that disabilities can vary greatly.
Other Service Dogs – Service dogs also perform other tasks for disabled individuals, including providing balance for individuals who have mobility issues, opening doors, fetching items for their handlers, and many other tasks.
Guide Dog – These service dogs help people who suffer from partial or complete blindness by guiding them along safe paths and helping them avoid dangerous situations.
Disability as defined by the ADA
(1) Disability.–The term `disability’ means, with respect to an individual–
(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;
(B) a record of such an impairment; or
(C) being regarded as having such an impairment (as described in paragraph (3)).
(2) Major life activities.–
(A) In general.–For purposes of paragraph (1), major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
(B) Major bodily functions.–For purposes of paragraph (1), a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
Emotional Support Dog Disabilities
Generalized anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Mental Disorders Due to a General Medical Condition
Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders
Substance Related Disorders