Activities For Dogs With Special Needs

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Introduction

As pet parents, we never want to witness our dogs experiencing any type of bad health. Some of us may raise a pup from a small age, taking them to the vet as often as necessary, and feeding them the best diet possible. However, even with the best of care, our sweet canine buddies may experience health issues which may classify them as special needs dogs. Some of these issues may include a problem with sight or hearing. Some may lose a limb due to an accident. It takes a special soul to work with a dog that may experience health issues such as these. However, dogs with special needs can still experience a very full life. It is up to their owners to adapt activity to their abilities rather than their disabilities.

Special Needs Kids Visit

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
60 min
Items needed
leash
Activity description
What better activity for a special needs dog than to show kids dealing with their own disability that those issues can be overcome? Some autistic children utilize service dogs, and they are seeing increased success once the dog is in place. Often, the service dogs of autistic children can assist the child with socialization issues. Other therapy dogs have been shown to help fight bullying in schools by teaching empathy to those who perpetuate the bullying problem. Still, other therapy dogs are improving the behavioral problems of emotionally disturbed students. Often, the fact that these therapy dogs are special needs dogs themselves only makes their presence more effective.
Step
1
Find a school
As an owner, you'll want to contact local school administrators in order to get permission to visit. Most organizations, schools in particular, are open to this sort of activity.
Step
2
Obtain proper training
While most places you intend to visit do not require that your dog be specially trained in order to be a service dog, there are those that do. Contact your local obedience school or your vet to find out any requirements your pup might need to meet in order to work as a therapy dog.
Step
3
Watch your dog shine
Often, a dog with special needs just seems to provide those they service with something a little extra. Whether working with a disabled child or a child dealing with behavioral problems, dogs with special needs themselves often seem to do the most good with those who need some TLC themselves.
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Take a Hike

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
3 min
Items needed
leash
dog waste bags
fresh water to drink
Activity description
If your dog's health can withstand a trek into the woods or along a moderately easy hiking trail, then take them on a brief hike. Being able to trek a mile or two into the woods on on a trail is great exercise for both you and your pup. Be sure to utilize times of the day when the weather is agreeable, such as first thing in the morning or late evening. Bring plenty of water along! Getting out and about will provide both of you with much needed physical activity, as well as bond you two together.
Step
1
Get ready
First, make sure that your dog can withstand the physical requirements of a hike. If the "hike" is really a stroll through the woods near your home, then Fido is likely to be able to do well on the hike. A walk in an area with elevation might not be in the scope of activities that your dog can perform. Visit the trail and make sure before taking your dog along.
Step
2
Enjoy the experience
As you walk, speak to your dog. Make it seem as if this exercise is fun. Stop from time to time to give your dog fresh water. Depending on your dog's mobility, you might want to stop often and allow for your dog to have a drink of water and a short rest.
Step
3
Perform a check
Any time you are outdoors for any amount of time, be sure to do a thorough tick check once you have arrived back home. Be sure to check legs, the ears, under the belly, and in the groin. Keep in mind that some ticks are very small, so you'll need to be very thorough.
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Swimming

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
30 - 60 min
Items needed
swim vest
Activity description
Swimming is a great, low-impact exercise for humans. However, most people don't realize that it is equally beneficial for dogs! Some dogs are natural swimmers; others, well, you might just have to give them a few lessons. Rarely you will see a dog that just flat out doesn't like the water. Do not force swimming on your pal. Always utilize a swim vest, no matter how great a natural swimmer your pup is. Watch your dog for fatigue, and provide fresh water for them, particularly if you are in the ocean or a salt water or chlorine pool.
Step
1
Learn boundaries
Even the most natural swimmers, such as Labrador Retrievers, still need to learn the limitations of their activities. Put a swim vest on your dog, and join the pup in the water. If you are in the ocean or a lake, give yourself a visual boundary of area in which to swim. Don't allow your companion to swim out too far.
Step
2
Swim like a fish
Often, your dog will take to the water, well, like a fish. Once you are confident in your pup's abilities, then you don't have to walk alongside the dog as they swim. However, never leave a dog unattended in any body of water, whether pool, river, lake or ocean.
Step
3
Watch Carefully
Watch your dog carefully. Learn the limits of your pup's ability. Your dog may be able to swim only fifteen or twenty minutes at a time. Other dogs may swim for the better part of an hour. Always provide fresh water breaks.
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More Fun Ideas...

Provide Natural Chew Toys

Most dogs love to chew. In fact, sometimes they chew more when bored. Choose natural chew toys such as a cow hoof. Stay away from rawhides as these can be a choking hazard for some dogs.

Walk Around the Neighborhood

Even dogs with limited mobility can take advantage of a stroll in the neighborhood. You might need to be a little slow in your walk. Adjust to your dog's ability.

Conclusion

Special needs in your dog need not limit your dog's ability to enjoy life! Take your dog to schools or hospitals where they can serve as therapy dogs. Many organizations welcome service dogs with little to no training. For more one on one time with your pup, take the dog on a brief, low-stress hike. Another great low-impact activity is swimming, an activity that most dogs take to naturally.