Guide dogs are for helping people who have impaired bodily functions, or have functional disabilities or some physiological imbalances. These dogs are specially trained and bred dogs that are well prepared to help certain people in a perfect manner so that they will not need anyone else’s help when their dog is with them. These faithful creatures remain with their owners 24 hours a day, ensuring that there will be no danger or harm around a person who has impaired functioning in a routine life.
Guide dogs can be trained to assist people having certain behavioral symptoms like a high level of anxiousness, or that have impaired senses like vision and hearing problems. In addition to this, you can also find guide dogs for mobility issues.
Mobility issues refer to the problems that limit a person’s ability to walk or move from one place to another and need help in doing so. As a matter of fact, a person may not be able to get full-time assistance from another human as everyone has to fulfill their own personal tasks as well. In such cases, guide dogs can be beneficial for people who have difficulty in moving from one place to another or using their hands. In other words, we can say that people who cannot help themselves using their legs or arms and hands can consider having a guide dog for their mobility issues.
Best breeds for guide dogs for mobility issues
The kind of breed you prefer, depends on the kinds of tasks you expect it to get done for you. Guide dogs for mobility issues come in breeds like golden retrievers, Labradors, German shepherds, or Doberman pinschers. This is because dogs that are too small or too huge or heavy can be a hazard to the owner. Ideally, the dogs should be less than 100 pounds and should be of considerable size to perform various tasks like guiding a person on a wheelchair, opening a door, picking up the phone, etc.
Major tasks that a guide dog can perform for the people having mobility issues
Many people who are unable to move on their own have a hard time getting objects to bring them closer or get to them easily. Guide dogs for mobility issues help people retrieve things that they cannot do easily or independently.
Open doors and windows
Those who have impaired motor abilities and cannot move their hands to pick things or open doors while sitting in the wheelchair can benefit from their guide dogs, as they will help open doors for them without any issues and they are well trained to open doors to help their owners.
Pulling or pushing a wheelchair
Though wheelchairs come with a lot of easy handling features, when the person has to move across an obstacle or an inclined place, they may need help. For this, these dogs are trained to pull the wheelchair or push it to get it through the uneven pathway without getting into any problems.
Helping in pushing elevator or door buttons
For those who need to move around and need consistent help in opening doors and moving with elevators, guide dogs can help push elevator buttons or door bells. This skill helps the owner to move, enter, or leave a particular place without any other assistance.
Help in changing clothes
These dogs are also skilled to perform small tasks that the owner may not be able to perform alone. Like changing clothes and pulling out clothes from a closet, etc. These dogs can help pull out clothes either from the closets or they can also help in changing the clothes.
Who can benefit from a guide dog for mobility issues?
Mobility issues and disabilities can result from a number of problems and injuries that may come in a person’s life. This can be inherited or also be caused some sort of accident. No matter if the problem happens to come due to inherited or progressive diseases and disorders or due to the accidents,here are a few conditions in which a person can benefit from a guide dog.
People who have vertebral column injuries
People who have a damaged vertebral column or have injuries in the lower vertebral area cannot move on their own and are unable to perform routine tasks easily. They need assistance and help with moving and working with things around. Guide dogs can help in such conditions.
Spinal cord injuries
Spinal injuries can also impair the mobility functions of a person. If a person has been injured due to an accident, he/she may not be able to move their legs or hands.Guide dogs can help such people to perform various daily routine tasks like opening doors, picking up dropped items, and pulling their clothes to help them change.
CNS injuries may also cause mobility impairments and disabilities. Guide dogs for mobility issues can help a lot for caring such people.
Muscular dystrophy is a very disturbing condition causing a person to undergo severe impairments in their actions and movements. They can benefit a lot from guide dogs that may help them compensate for their disabilities.
Best way to work with a guide dog for mobility problems
In order to make sure you get all the benefits of having a guide dog for mobility issues, you must be sure about the skills a dog should have to compensate your disabilities. Here is what you can do:
Select a healthy, mature, and perfectly sized dog
In order to get the best assistance, you may need to select a dog that is able to fulfil all the tasks and responsibilities that you need. As if you are looking for a dog that will be able to push or pull your wheelchair, you may not prefer to have a small sized dog, instead, a strong and large dog is required.
Make sure the dog has been trained to perform the tasks you will need to be assisted with
Be sure that the guide dog you have with you knows the skills and can perform all tasks in a perfect manner through its training. This will help you get better results and assistance while having a guide dog.
Be attentive and keep a balanced relationship with your dog
Make sure you develop and maintain a balanced relationship with your dog so that the dog knows when you need its assistance and how you need it.
Make sure you take care of the retirement span of your service dog
Always try to keep a dog that is ready to serve you with no issues it all. These dogs have a 6-8 year span to work as a service dog and those that have surpassed this span should be retired.
A guide dog for mobility issues is a blessing and a complete assistance for people having muscular disabilities and problems either due to nervous systems issues or direct injuries. They can get simple routine tasks completed in an easy way so that the owner will not need too much assistance from another person, making them independent and confident in doing their daily chores.