The switch : designing the built environment for service dogs

Kelsey Habla
ARC623 | Fall 2016

There are many mechanisms in everyday life that require the use of small buttons, which are hard for service dogs and people with large fingers or limited dexterity to use. People with service dogs often must cover the walls near light switches with a protective material so the dogs don’t scratch the paint with their nails. However, service dogs are trained to use the large buttons designed for people who use wheelchairs to open automatic doors. Since the technology already exists, it could be applied to a new design. The objective of this project is to develop a means for service dogs to perform tasks that is integrated into the design of products, without the need for adaptations or maintenance.