First are Guide Dogs, then the most thought of service dog is most likely a mobility assistance dog. Hearing dogs are actually more prevalent and have been around longer, but hearing dogs are usually invisible. I remember seeing my first hearing dog in a shelter in Florida in 1992.
Mobility assistance dogs perform a variety of tasks for their handler. Pushing the button on automatic doors, retrieving dropped or out of reach items, answering the phone, pulling a wheelchair, fetching a cane, helping to remove clothing and many other tasks. One of the most common tasks I personally have trained in a mobility assistance dog is balance and staying upright. There are many reasons why someone would need a dog to help keep them upright and being overweight is the least of those reasons. Many dogs serve as a brace for people who are ambulatory but suffer from blood pressure issues (POTS) and suffer from balance and strength issues. A mobility assistance dog can tug open and close doors and drawers, turn lights on and off, and summon help by finding another person in the house. In public, the mobility assistance dog is often an invisible helper, keeping their handler upright, on a straight path, or avoiding obstacles.
A service dog is a trained to perform various tasks for their human partners who have a disability. These trained tasks are directly related to the handler’s disability and help that handler do things the disability prevents.
An Assistance Dog is one that helps its owner in everyday life, but not necessarily with mobility. This usually covers such things as helping with the laundry, opening the doors at a mall or just the front door of your house, turning lights on and off because you are bed bound, accessing things on counters when you can’t reach, dialing the phone for help or just rolling your over in bed because you’re having a nightmare.
Assistance and Mobility Assistance dogs have many things in common, so if you also purchased out book Mobility Assistance Dogs, there will be some crossover.
This book is strictly assistance and does not cover mobility. The size, structure, and weight of an assistance dog is not as restricted as it is with a mobility assistance dog, hence the two books.
And Assistance Dog can be small. As small as 20lbs, if you don’t need a lot of retrieving from high places. But even that can be manipulated with the addition of “stairs” for a small dog to climb.
Devon the Great Dane, BanKai the Labrador, Buddy the Airedale, Hugo the Husky Mix, Asher the Hovawart, Cody the Border Collie mix, and Gordon the Malinois Mix all do Mobility Support.