There are many ways in which mobility aids can help a wheelchair user. You can install a wheelchair ramp, have a stairlift installed, and provide other aids around the home, but you can also offer a mobility assistance dog. A mobility service dog is a service dog that is specifically trained to help its owner with mobility assistance issues. These are slightly different from support animals, although of course, they can provide their owner’s support as well, in addition to helping them with tasks of daily living.
Read on to learn more about mobility service dogs, what they do, and the type of dog best suited for the job.
Mobility Service Dogs: What Do Service Dogs Do?
Dogs for wheelchair users and other mobility dogs can do many things for their owners. When it comes to wheelchair-specific tasks, these types of dogs can perform tasks such as:
- Adjusting their owner’s positioning
- Retrieving objects that have fallen onto the ground
- Carrying objects for their owner
- Opening and closing doors
- Turning lights on and off
- Assisting with laundry
- Helping with the removal of clothing
- Accessing high counter or things out of reach
- Aiding their owner to transfer in and out of the wheelchair
- Pulling or pushing the wheelchair
- Pushing elevator buttons
For those not in a wheelchair but for those who may need assistance with stability, such as needing a service dog for balance, a mobility service dog can help stabilize as their owner goes up and down the stairs, for example. These types of dogs are used for many types of mobility impairments. There are service dogs for cerebral palsy as well as for other disabilities that can cause problems with ambulation, such as:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Muscular dystrophy
- Spina bifida
- Spinal cord injury
- Gait difficulties
So, as you can see, mobility service dogs can be for many more people with disabilities than those in wheelchairs. However, they can help those in wheelchairs immensely, especially with difficult tasks.
Mobility Service Dogs: Best Dogs for Mobility Assistance
When thinking about a dog for mobility assistance, you want to consider the best mobility assistance dog breeds, but there are other factors.
For example, you don’t want a service dog that requires a lot of coat care, and you also want a sizable dog to perform certain tasks, such as reach items on a counter or push a wheelchair if needed.
Age and gender are also factors, as older dogs are slower and female dogs are typically smaller—however, this does not rule them out. Some of the best breeds for hiring a mobility service dog include:
- Golden retrievers
- Labrador retrievers
- German shepherds
- Standard poodle
- American Staffordshire terrier
Generally, these breeds are often used as other types of service dogs and are gentle, loving breeds.
To learn more about mobility service dogs or to learn more about mobility products that can be life-changing, contact us at Williams Lift Co. today. We want both caregivers and their loved ones to live their best lives possible.