Training a dog when it is using a dog wheelchair is a little bit different than your average experience. In fact, it is a two-part process: training the dog and training it to use the wheelchair.
Once your dog suffers an injury or loses the ability to fully use one or more of its limbs, there is the challenge to get it mobile again. However, it is still a dog prone to typical dog behavior, so owners must not neglect to have regular obedience training in tandem with wheelchair training.
Regular obedience training
It is as important that your dog get regular obedience training as it is wheelchair training because it must know how to behave. Those that neglect regular training may be temperamental or dangerous dogs in wheelchairs because they lack the training necessary to exhibit healthy behavior. Training can be in traditional form at a training facility, or it can be achieved live through the comfort of your home with remote webcam training. Remote training allows for the dog to be comfortable in its surroundings while being taught new skills.
When a dog first sees a dog wheelchair, it is a foreign object. Therefore, it is recommended that the wheelchair remain out in the open for a couple days prior to strapping it on the dog. This allows the dog to get used to the idea of the chair, the way it smells, etc. Then, slowly get the dog used to the harness by strapping it on the dog without the wheels. This allows the dog to get used to the contraption without adding the complexity that will follow. Eventually, add the wheelchair, and the dog will be mobile.
This mobility will not likely be perceived as normal for the dog, and you may have to persuade movement with treats. Therefore, it is good to put the wheelchair on when the dog is hungry, so it is more motivated by the treats. Lastly, the dog’s comfort must be a priority. Dogs may not be willing to use chairs that are ill-fitting. Once the dog is mobile and comfortable, it will enjoy the wheelchair and its increased mobility.
Training a disabled dog involves extra effort, but the effort needs to stay on the same track as those dogs that are not disabled. Remember, it is just as important that a disabled dog behaves as a non-disabled dog, so normal training must be included with wheelchair training. Once both of these things happen, disabled dogs can live very fulfilling lives.