Your dog is the faithful companion you have been longing for. He brightens up your day and brings joy to your life. His energy is abundant and he always wants to play with you. You want to be able to keep him happy and healthy, but being in a wheelchair can make this challenging, as you still need to take him out for regular walks. Of course, you love him very much and want to be able to walk him safely and independently without the need for assistance.
Teaching him to walk beside you obediently is important because it ensures that you can walk him safely without him getting run over by the wheels or his leash getting tangled up. It is also essential when you are walking him next to a busy road that he walks beside you patiently and does not pull you into the road.
Not all dogs, however, may be capable of displaying the characteristics that are required in order to assist disabled individuals, and you will need to gauge if your dog Is up to the job yourself. The characteristics that your dog will need to exhibit are; being calm, focused, friendly (to other humans and dogs) and obedient. Learning to walk beside a wheelchair will take a lot of awareness and patience and therefore may not be suitable for young puppies. If you do have a puppy, you may want to consider waiting until he is at least 6 months old.
Teaching him to walk beside the wheelchair should take anywhere between 1 -2 weeks depending on how quickly your dog picks it up or how frightened he is of the wheelchair. It will also depend on how much you have worked on obedience and awareness training with him previously.
In order to teach him to walk beside a wheelchair, you will need to have patience and a positive attitude. You will also need a leash between 3 – 4 feet long to allow him some freedom for sniffing time. In addition, you will need a clicker and lots of his favorite treats.
You might want to consider training him in your yard to start with, to limit the distractions and to make sure his full attention is focused on learning.
Once you are prepared, you can now to teach him to walk next to a wheelchair like a professional!