Five amazing tricks you never knew a dog could do

Assistance dog May helping her human (or 'partner') at the cash point. You'd be surprised by some of the things pooches can do for less able-bodied people.
Assistance dog May helping her human (or 'partner') at the cash point. You'd be surprised by some of the things pooches can do for less able-bodied people.

From loading the washing machine to letting out the cat - you'll be amazed by this list of things an assistance dog can do around the house.

Assistance dogs are amazing. They help people who are blind, disabled and suffer other complex physical difficulties with all manner of day-to-day tasks.

May picking up keys for her partner - assistance dogs can perform numerous tasks which may be painful or impossible for some.

May picking up keys for her partner - assistance dogs can perform numerous tasks which may be painful or impossible for some.

They can do much more than help a blind person get out and about safely - dogs help people with complex physical difficulties, helping them to be more independent, helping disabled people be more confident to engage in social interaction and also reducing pain and fatigue.

So here is a list of what people with assistance dogs said they found most helpful about their canine aids, compiled by national charity, Canine Partners.

1. Picking up and fetching items

Some points on the list are quite obvious, but for someone disabled it can be debilitating or take a huge amount of effort to move, and particularly hard to reach down and pick something up that you've dropped. So much so that and a massive 90 per cent of respondents to the survey said this was in their top 25 helpful things a dog can do. Canine Partners said: "These seemingly small tasks for able-bodied people really become frustrating for those people in a wheelchair or with mobility issues. Similarly dogs are used to help with mobility, like opening and closing doors, fetching the phone, and one person said their dog even let the cat in and out of the house."

Undressing can be incredibly difficult or some people, and May can do anything from pulling off your socks to handing you a towel before getting in the shower.

Undressing can be incredibly difficult or some people, and May can do anything from pulling off your socks to handing you a towel before getting in the shower.

2. Undressing

That's right, some assistance dogs help their masters to slip out of their clothes in the evening, placing this task at the third most popular among the charity's clients. They can also undo shoelaces and straps and pull off socks. "76 per cent stating that was an important task for them. This one really ensured independence and the reduction of carer involvement, especially in the evening, allowing the disabled person to lead a more normal life," said the charity.

3. Doing the washing

Not only can a dog load and unload a washing machine, they can also push buttons and operate controls (with help), and afterwards, put the washing in a basket and take the basket outside. Then, when their human is hanging out their smalls to dry in the wind, they'll pass them clothes pegs. Hygiene is a major area dogs can help, including lifting up their partner's arm while they shower and even flushing the toilet.

May's also a personal shopper, and can grab items, hand the purse to the cashier and open the supermarket door.

May's also a personal shopper, and can grab items, hand the purse to the cashier and open the supermarket door.

4. Personal Shopping

Not only can assistance dogs fetch items in the supermarket, they can pass your wallet to the cashier, they can take your card and receipt out of an ATM, and push the button to open automatic doors. Many users found it particularly useful that when they get home their assistance dog could also unload shopping bags. They might not be able to cook, but some clients said they could take crockery away after a meal and close the dishwasher. "52 per cent said that dogs helped with shopping, including paying the cashier," said the charity.

5. Just... being there

Possibly the most important point on the list, although it's divided into different tasks, is the emotional benefits a dog provides. Not only do they make their human smile, they give them a reason to go outside, they change other people's attitudes to them and often help to spark up conversations. But most importantly, they offer friendship and companionship, and make their human feel safe. Canine partners said: "Many respondents said their canine partner made them feel proud, and helped the public to see the disability, and even gave them a reason to get up in the morning."

Andy Cook, CEO at Canine Partners, added: "While some of the results were predictable, the sheer range of tasks the dogs undertake was staggering, underlining how invaluable they become to their disabled owner.

"Interestingly, although partners were asked only about physical tasks, more than 50 per cent of respondents stated that boosting confidence and emotional support was just as important."