Service Dog/Work

Service dogs are distingushed under US law by performance of "tasks or work". This is as opposed to either "mere presence" of a comforting animal, or the performances based upon instinct. The regulations are reviewed every ten years, and some voices seek to have the definition to include instinctiual performance if it benefits pwrsons with disabilities.

Under current US law, the term "work" seems to be somewhat ambigupus, but may have been inxluded to allow some wiggle room in cases where it is clear the animal is working to benefit a qualified handler, but it is difficult to pinpoint a specific task per se.

Research question: how have diffrent parties differentiated between SD tasks and "work". Does interprwetation ary widely amongst DOJ experts, advocates and owner-handlers? Are there clear misconceptions in play? Have judicial opinions in state courts and diffwerent Federal circuit courts varied in their usage of the terminology?


The ADA regulations define a service dog as one trained to peeform tasks ordo work.


Research question:

How is 'work" different deom peoemance of "tasks"?

Without doing any research, what do you believe the distinctions may be?

How are the terms defined in various general dictionaries? dictionaries?

How are the terms used in DOJ discussions? the world of service dog discussion?

...disability specialists?


...public commenters who my have influenced legislative or regulatory history?

Are there distinct differences in these usages? Does it seems that usages by srvice dog trainers and handlers diverge from usage by DOJ sources, judges, or lawmakers?

Might such differences reflect misconceptions?


In the DOJ addendum, reference is made early in the discussions to " non-violent protection or rescue work". Setting aside the analysis of whether this language may inform an analysis of "protection work", it is clear the department's duly diligent analysis conceptualizes "rescue work".

Rescue implies an extreme event such as a fall, a medical crisis, a disaster or being somehow stuck. We can be stuck socially, and if someone comes along and provides an opportunity to exit the situation, American vernacular wold be to tjankthem for "rescuing" us.

Some writers on psychiatric disabilities discuss specifically training the assistance animal to provide an exit cue or response. These trained responses cann be based upon trained or innate recognition of a dangerous situation. A different task altogether, but which is also discussed, is for the animal to respond to a cue drom the owner which the animal recognizes as a command but which sttangers will not.Such situations can arise as a direct result of functional limitationa due to a disability or also from dissonance, discrimination or even malice on the partof third parties. aA situation of this nature can activate a psychiatric state such as agitation, anger, or paranoia.

A task can be defined of leading the handler to exit or take other measures based on either the handler's assessment or the canine's assessment. This can be characterized as either rescue work, protection work, or simply as "protection".

Using the term "protection work" carries a different connotation than use of the bare term "protection". The latter could be interpreted to suggest a crime deterrent based upon

(a) the mere presence of the animal or (b) based on violent "attack dog" training.

These are both big no-no's. By using protection work we emphasize at Least that this is not a mere presence crime deterrent situation. This usage still leaves the open question of whether the protection work in question is "attack dog" training or "non-violent protection" work. But that half of the battle can be won with training records showing bite inhibition, socialization and other features consistent with regulations and industry best practices.

Much of the so-called "attack" training relies on old school alpha dog dominance hierarchy, and training records clearly consistent with new school posiyivr training is more likely toevidence non-violence.

See also K9