Mobility assistance service dogs are more than just man's best friend. To honor this year's International Assistance Dog Week which was at the beginning of this month, we would like to discuss this very relevant topic. From their early "childhood" puppies are "wired" to give us unconditional love and loyalty, but service dogs are trained professionals who are meant to assist totally disabled or physically limited human companions. They are trained to do a huge specter of basic tasks for those who have suffered a spinal cord injury or are coping with some other type of condition.
These tasks include pushing buttons on doors, getting items for their owners, picking up something their owner has dropped on the ground, but they may learn some other more specific tasks as well. There are dogs that can push their owner's wheelchair up a wheelchair ramp, open and close doors, turning the lights on and off, and much more. What drives these dogs to bring on their A-game is verbal encouragement as well as rewards. These rewards can be simple treats just to show your pup your appreciation and associate their well-done job with positive behavior. Of course, the mutual bond between the dog and its owner is the foundation of the relationship's strength. With real dedication, there is no limit to what these two can accomplish.
What is the best service dog for a person in a wheelchair?
Larger breeds of dogs are normally recommended by professionals due to the nature of the tasks the dog would have to perform. If you need your mobility assistance service dog to occasionally push your wheelchair, a small dog wouldn't be able to do the job. Another thing a service dog should be able to do is to adjust their owner's position in the wheelchair like placing their arm back onto the armrest after it has fallen. The dog needs to be able to carry grocery bags or other things such as a bottle of water. Helping to remove and put on clothing is just another task these dogs can perform such as helping with socks, shoes, pants, coats, etc.
These dogs are also helpful around the house. They can help people in wheelchairs do their laundry by loading and unloading the washing machine, reaching high corners and helping their owner get from point A to point B.
While large dog breeds can make fantastic support animals, smaller dog breeds are often seen as perfect for emotional support. They can help you feel more confident and emotionally stronger, their presence brings positivity and several studies have shown that cuddling with your pet can induce serotonin creation.
Mobility assistance service dogs are some of the most rewarding companions one can get, but that doesn't mean that this process is easy. On the contrary, it may take a long time for the connection to form a bond. To make sure you are choosing the right type of dog personality-wise and training-wise, please contact a local trainer for further information.