Assistance dogs can provide a multitude of tasks, depending on the disability of the handler. They can retrieve items, open and close doors, turn the lights on and off, assist in balance, carry items etc. An assistance dog commonly helps with unique mobility tasks that the handlers cannot do for themselves. Since each disabled person has distinctive needs, it is best to make the needs known when seeking to find an appropriate dog for the work. For example, a dog used for balance needs to be an appropriate size while a dog used to break a Parkinsons Disease freeze does not have to be large.
In general terms, assistance dogs perform tasks including retrievals, carrying, depositing, tugging, nudging, pawing, bracing, pulling, and seeking help in an emergency. Assistance and balance dogs are designed for the needs of the handler.