Dogs have been use assist the disabled for many years, from seeing eye dogs to assistance dogs for those who are in a wheelchair. Whether you have a disability or a sprained ankle, you can teach your dog so that they help you in your routine.
Sue was first diagnosed with causalgia in 1981- now called CRPS2- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome- the world’s most painful long term problem is thankfully quite rare (we should do the lottery!) Sue’s CRPS has spread from her right leg throughout so walking can be painfully hard, it’s difficult to carry things and she gets tried very easily. Sadly this limits the time that we can do one to one training (although if you do have a time and day in mind, please say, we’ll do our best!)
We’ve taught Poppy to open doors- a shoe string was tied to the handle and she was encouraged to tug it to pull the door open. This can be helpful if negotiating a chair about the house, if you’re struggling with crutches or your hands are weak. This same principle can be extended to include the fridge.. then you can teach a dog to bring you a bottle of water.
Dog rucksacks / panniers can be used to help you carry lighter things about if you’re on crutches and can’t carry anything. Poppy can hold and carry a small parcel.
We have also taught her to be a courier- she can take a small parcel to someone- as long as she knows their name. The parcel could be anything- from a note to a mobile phone (we put electronic or perishable things in a sandwich bag).
A dog that knows someone’s name can also be asked to fetch that person in an emergency.
Sue finds her hypersensitivity heartbreaking- where a light touch is very painful. She loves her cuddles with her dogs. Sue’s beardies are very gentle- we were very on the ball with their touch sensitivity training. All our dogs’ soft mouth is very good- proving the old adage wrong – it’s not just Labradors who can carry raw eggs!
Here at Affinity Dog Training we can teach your dog to help… please contact us for more info.
Updated July 2014