Activities For Dogs With Learning Disabilities

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Introduction

Dogs with learning disabilities, or special needs, all are unique. Of course, dogs are different, and dogs with special needs will vary in the level of care needed. There are many disabilities a dog can have, such as attention deficit, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxieties, fears, and health issues that can affect learning. They can also be blind, deaf, and have life-threatening conditions that need special care. If your dog has special needs and requires longer than is the norm to learn something new, we can suggest activities that can be enjoyed. Getting to know your companion will be accomplished over time, and when your dog achieves something new it will be very fulfilling for the both of you!

Hydrotherapy

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Any Day
Expensive
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Harness
Leash
Activity description
Hydrotherapy is a wonderful type of therapy for dogs who have special needs. Hydrotherapy is like a large, therapeutic whirlpool for dogs (and people, too). It helps many dogs with special needs, as it is very good for the joints and for the well-being of the canine. Dogs who are paralyzed, recovering from surgery, have joint disease, or other diseases and ailments can benefit from hydrotherapy. The water in the chamber makes the body of the dog buoyant and the dog is not fighting any gravity. This reduces a lot of stress on their body. Water can also help the lymphatic system, improve immunity, and get rid of toxins. 

Step
1
Talk with your veterinarian
Only your veterinarian can help you with making decisions about your dog's health and well-being. Talk to your veterinarian about hydrotherapy and whether it can benefit your pup. If it can benefit, ask your vet to recommend a hydrotherapist. Of course, your veterinarian will more than likely need to do a full examination on your dog so everything will be up to date.
Step
2
Make an appointment
Make an appointment with the hydrotherapist. Once you are there, you will have a consultation to discuss your dog's specific needs, temperament, and any other necessary information, such as what medication is being taken. Your hydrotherapist will explain to you what will happen during the sessions so you will be familiar with the process.
Step
3
Consistency is key
The benefits of hydrotherapy are best when you take your dog consistently. It is essential to keep every appointment, as missing an appointment can slow down the treatment process. If you have any questions about your furbaby's progress, your hydrotherapist and veterinarian can answer them.
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Get the Treat

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
20 min
Items needed
Delicious treats
Activity description
This is a fun and rewarding activity that can be done inside. Any dog loves going after treats, especially ones that are not given them very often. You can use small pieces of cooked chicken, store-purchased treats, or carrots. Any healthy food item will do, just be sure to make the pieces very small so your dog doesn't consume too much. Getting each treat is the reward, and your dog will want to continue going through the house with you hunting down even more delicious bites. You never know, your pup may even grab the item and bring it back, as in a game of fetch!
Step
1
Choose a healthy reward
Be sure the snacks are healthy. You do not need to spend a lot on treats, either. Many dogs like chicken bits, cooked beef bits, green beans, carrots, or a favorite treat from the store. As long as the pieces are small and your dog is motivated to go get them, that's all that matters.
Step
2
Toss them
Find a place in your home where you can sit and toss the treats. You may choose to sit at the end of your hallway, in the back of a room, or in the kitchen. Just be sure there is plenty of room to toss the treat and for your dog to go get it!
Step
3
Take it outside
If it is a nice day outside and you have a backyard, you may choose to enjoy the outdoors doing this same activity. Sit in your yard and toss each treat in a different direction, with your dog watching where it goes. See if they can sniff it out in the grass!
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Special Needs Dog Toys

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Special Needs Toy
Activity description
Yes, there are special toys for dogs with learning disabilities and special needs. You will need to do some research, but many online pet stores have them. In fact, there are many to choose from! Toys like squeaky stuffies or balls that make a sound when moved are perfect for a pet who may have sensory challenges. A dog needing incentive to engage will enjoy the smells of pre-scented tennis balls for tracking and play. Wind up toys will provide stimulation for a pup that may need encouragement to get on the move. Special needs toys can be enjoyed by any size of dog and played with both inside or out.
Step
1
Do your research
Look online and search for special needs dog toys. There are many to choose from, such as toys that "talk" to dogs when played with, scented toys, easy to grab and chew items, light-up toys, and more! Only you know what your dog will respond to, and luckily there are a lot of things on the market for dogs with special needs.
Step
2
Purchase a few
Once you purchase and get your items, see how your pup reacts. Many stores do have returns or exchanges, so if the product doesn't work for your dog, you can return it. You may realize that the toy doesn't give enough stimulation, provides too much stimulation (as with sound), or that he is simply not interested at all.
Step
3
Enjoy!
It is so fun and rewarding to watch a dog with learning disabilities to really "get into" a toy! It not only makes your special one happy but you as well. You can be involved with your dog by sitting alongside and participating in the play as well! Here's to an impressive toy-choosing decision and loving your dog!
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More Fun Ideas...

Cuddle Time

Every dog, including those with learning disabilities, needs time to just cuddle with their person. More than likely, you are that person, so pop in a movie, get the pillows, and cuddle with your pup for some wonderful bonding time!

Kong

The Kong is a commercial, durable toy that is safe for dogs. It is hollow inside, so you can put dog-safe peanut butter or cheese in it. The Kong gives the dog a little down time while they are manipulating the toy and doing their best to get to the center so they can taste the reward.

Conclusion

Having a dog with special needs is very rewarding. You may find that your pup is very loyal and kind, and this will make you feel warm inside knowing you are making a difference. No matter if your dog has a learning disability, is blind, has a disease that inhibits their movements, is deaf, or has challenges for any reason, you can focus on the positives and give your family member the perfect life!