I wanted to explain a few commonly-used terms related to service dogs and some of the tasks they might do
Alert - An alert is when a service dog warns you in advance that
something is going to happen. The thing hasn't happened yet. For
instance, a seizure alert dog might nudge a handler 20 minutes BEFORE a
seizure starts. The dog is saying, "Hey, you're gonna have a seizure
People often say their dog alerts to anxiety, but dogs
can't really tell you in advance when you are going to get anxious. I
get anxious if the power goes out but my dog cannot predict when the
power will go out before it happens. What people usually mean when they
say their dog alerts to anxiety is that their dog signals them when
they are getting anxious or that their dog responds to their anxiety.
Signal - This is when the dog tells you something is already happening.
In the even that the power goes out and I begin to get anxious, my dog
sees that I AM anxious. If he was trained to nudge me, he would be
saying, "Hey, you're anxious now!"
Response - This is when the dog
is trained to do something in response to your anxiety (or seizures or whatever). He is actually
doing something about it, not just telling you that you're anxious. My
dog is trained to bring my medication when he sees that I am anxious.
In my case, it wouldn't be helpful for me if he just said, "Hey, you're
anxious!" (That might be helpful for someone else, though). What I
need him to say is "Hey, you're anxious so take your meds!" And he says
that by dropping the meds in my lap.
Alert - tells you something is going to happen
Signal - tells you something is happening now
Response - does something about whatever is happening