The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service dogs, or service animals, as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. These dogs are allowed by law to go anywhere people are allowed to go, as long as they are with their disabled handler or a person transporting the dog to their handler. These amazing animals are trained to compensate for many different types of disabilities. The following is a description of some of the types of service dogs currently being trained.

Guide Dogs

Probably the most familiar type of service dog is the guide dog, trained to help blind or visually impaired people. These dogs serve as the eyes for their owner, navigating them through traffic, stairs, and sidewalks, while avoiding all obstacles that could cause injury.

Hearing Dogs

Similar to guide dogs, "hearing" or "signal" dogs are specially trained to assist deaf people. They alert their owner to sounds, usually by approaching their owner and then by going back to the source of the sound. They signal such noises as doorbells, phones, smoke alarms, crying babies, microwave bells and even teakettles whistling.

Mobility Assist Dog

Mobility Assist Dogs are specially trained to pull a person's wheelchair, carry things in a backpack, pick up things the person drops, opens/close doors, and help the handler get dressed or undressed.

Walker Dog

Walker Dogs helps the handler walk by balancing or acting as a counter balance. It also does many of the tasks that the Mobility Assist Dog does.

Seizure Alert/Response Dog

Seizure Alert/Response Dogs are trained to respond to a person's seizures by either stay with the person, or go for help. Some dogs are trained to hit a button on a console to automatically dial 911. When the dog hears the voice over the speaker, it barking. The disabled person would have arranged for the system to be dog activated. Also, these dogs can often predict a seizure and are trained to alert the person in time so they may move to a safe or more comfortable place, before onset of the seizure.

Psychiatric Service Dog

A person with a mental disability may need a Psychiatric Service Dog to be able to go out in public, such as an agoraphobic. Other people, such autistic persons, may need a dog trained  to keep them focused. These dogs are trained NEVER to leave their handler's side. For more information on tasks that Psychiatric Service Dog's are being trained for, visit the web site of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP).

Ssig Dog

Ssig Dogs are trained to assist people with autism. The dog alerts the partner to distracting repetitive movements common among those with autism, allowing the parent to stop the movement. A person with autism may have problems with sensory input and need the same support services from a dog that a dog might give to a person who is blind or deaf.

Combo Dog

Some programs, Paws With A Cause, for example, have started training dogs for people with multiple disabilities, like a guide/mobility assist dog.