We are a part of a generation where depending on dogs for tasks seems to be much easier than depending on our human selves. Well, thanks to the things available in our surroundings, which make it easier for us to depend on dogs for things that could only be done by humans previously. We are sure at this moment, curiosity is at its peak, and you might be thinking, what are we talking about? Let’s burst the bubble as here we will learn more about “mobility service dogs.”
Chances are, some of your friends have discussed it with you, but you were not paying attention at the time. Well, if that happened and now you are eager to know about them, stay tuned with us till the end, as here we will explore almost all the relatable things with mobility assistance dogs. Let’s get started!
What Is A Mobility Service Dog?
Mobility service dogs or mobility assistant dogs are specially trained dogs that are trained to help a disabled person physically. We all know that physically disabled people face difficulty in moving, like poor balance, or sometimes they require human help to roam here and there. The dogs, on the other hand, do wonders for them at that time.
They are the best replacements for human partners for people with disabilities. In simple words, for a disabled person, some tasks seem impossible, but with mobility assistance dogs, this will not happen at all. Let’s understand it with a common example.
Think about a situation where you want to step outside, but you cannot do so without human help. At that moment, you will look for someone who can be a support system for you. The dogs are trained in the same manner, and you can consider them in that particular situation. They will behave like a brace for you, and by holding them, you can simply step outside.
The best part is that with a mobility assistance dog, you will not have that awkward feeling. We all know that humans used to judge other humans who were going through some situation. But this will not happen to dogs at all. Even if you want to pour your heart out about the situation, you can simply do it with them, and, thankfully, they will listen to you without interfering.
How To Find A Suitable Candidate for Mobility Service Dog Work?
When you are looking forward to choosing a mobility service dog, there are certain factors you need to keep in mind. These are as follows:
The age of a dog is a primary factor you need to check out. You cannot consider a puppy to be a mobility assistance dog. Always choose a dog that has an age of between 3 and 6 years so that you will not face any problems in handling them.
The dog’s breed
The breed of the dog creates a big difference. You cannot consider an aggressive breed like “Rough Collies”. Always do proper research on the dog breed and then choose the best one as the mobility assistance one.
Strength of the Dog
Always choose a dog breed that is strong. If you have chosen a weak breed like “English bulldog,” then you cannot consider them as a mobility assistance one. It is good to pamper your dog, but when you are choosing them for mobility purposes, they have to be strong.
The dog’s size
Always choose a dog of adequate size. You cannot choose a dog that is very small in size, and you are very big in front of them. Thus, an adequate size is necessary to check out while you are choosing a mobility assistance dog.
The ability to adapt
Well, when you are choosing a dog breed for mobility assistance, always choose breeds that can easily adjust and are easy to handle. Different dog breeds are there, like “Basset Hounds,” which are very easy to handle and are the perfect example of mobility assistance.
Every dog has a different odor. We suggest you choose a dog that does not appear to be smelly when it gets wet. People in the vicinity appear to avoid you because the smell appears to be so pungent or irritating that they do not pay attention to what you are saying. This will have a negative impact on your status as well.
Every living creature has a specific lifespan. Thus, make sure to choose the breed that has the longest lifespan. Breeds like Maltese, Australian shepherds, and some others have the longest lifespan of around 15 years.
Gender plays a big role when you are choosing a mobility assistance dog. Male dogs are considered to be more energetic as compared to females. Thus, while choosing the dogs, put your preference as “male,” and then you can look out for females too. Some breeds are also there where you will find the females to be more energetic. Thus, a deep study of dog breeds is important.
Who Benefits From Mobility Assistance Service Dogs?
According to guidelines issued by the government for mobility service dogs, they can stay with those who have developmental, physical, or psychiatric disabilities. In some cases, a person has difficulty holding their balance and can’t move from one place to another.
If any person is going through such a condition, then they are only eligible to get a mobility assistance service dog. The best part is that there will be no discrimination considering access to goods and services for humans and canines.
Along with that, major people who will benefit from mobility assistance service dogs include:
- People dealing with joint problems like arthritis and joint inflammation are
- People are dealing with coordination problems, and they are not even able to coordinate their basic lifestyle.
- People going through some mental trauma, including brain injury, impaired balance, and cerebral palsy,
- People with any physical injury like spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, etc.
- People with some other conditions like neurological, cardiac, or metabolic disorders, vertigo, spinal bifida, gait difficulties, fibromyalgia, and so on.
In general, individuals going through medical conditions that interfere with their independent lifestyle can have access to the services available with a mobility dog. People who are dependent on assistive devices like crutches, braces, wheelchairs, and so on can also get a dog to go with them.
If someone tries to misrepresent a mobility assistant or service dog it is considered a crime, and they will have to pay the penalty.
Best Service Dog Breeds for Mobility
There are some breeds that are perfect examples of mobility assistance dogs. These are as follows:
A golden retriever is the first option when you are searching for a mobility assistance dog. During the training period, they are guided by hearing and visually-impaired individuals. They have a natural behavior of sympathy, which is helpful for the owner. Moreover, they have the best intellectual capacity and are obedient.
Talking about their basic nature, they are very friendly and can adjust to their surroundings easily. They never behave aggressively but have the capacity to handle the situation very responsibly.
The Labrador retriever is among the most well-known dog breeds available for mobility assistance. The major reason for choosing them is their ability to learn and their willingness to go through different things. They are helpful in every service. The best part is that they are alert and always pay attention to what their master is saying. They have the curiosity to know what to do and what not to do. The Labrador retriever is usually trained, but there are some things that they only learn from their master. They have a variety of characteristics that make them an excellent example of a mobility assistance dog.
We cannot forget to discuss German shepherds. This dog is under consideration due to its jolly nature and adaptability. They create a very good bond with all the people in their surroundings and do not let them feel fearful at all. They are considered for different services, like police search and rescue. In the military, too, the German shepherd is a considerable choice.
This is the best dog to consider, but you may face difficulties due to their overprotective behavior. If you get into the habit of adjusting to their overprotective behavior, you will have no problems until the date they leave you.
American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier is an example of those dogs that have good stamina but are sensitive as well. If you need someone for emotional support, they are the best example. They also give signals to the owner when they are in need of any medical help. Do understand that they are fearless but sensitive, so you need to be a bit conscious of what they are doing. Apart from that, they engage in task activities and complete them.
A Newfoundland is a gentle mobility assistance dog. They have the capability to handle a lot of weight and can be the best sources of physical and emotional support. They are also the best for watching dogs. But adjusting to the surroundings takes a bit of time. But when they are adjusted completely, they are the best ones to rely on.
Bernese Mountain Dogs
The Bernese mountain dog appears to be very cute, but don’t forget that they are very strong. They have the capability of pulling big carts as well. They are very sweet in nature and develop a good bond with kids. Also, they are very smart and have the capability to learn new things immediately. If you step into some new surroundings with them, they will gulp in certain things which you have not expected, and you will notice it in their behavior.
The Rottweiler is a perfect example of a big and strong dog. During the training period, they are the most obedient and friendly ones. They are very strong and have the ability to pull heavy cards and hurt the cattle. They are also very loyal and will always protect you if there is any danger in the area. They never have any people available and maintain a good bond with everyone around them.
A St. Bernard is an example of a mobility assistance dog and a breast breed to consider. They are very large and strong and have the ability to carry heavy stuff along with them. Moreover, they are very friendly in nature and easy-going children. You just need to let the children understand that they are not behaving inappropriately with him, and then it is all set to develop a good bond with them.
The standard poodle is the best example for those who own a wheelchair. They are very intelligent and quickly understand what is happening in their surroundings. Additionally, they are obedient and do things as the master demands. They have the eagerness to know what is happening in their surroundings and behave actively accordingly.
The Great Dane is a perfect example of a mobility assistance dog due to its physical. They appear to be giants and have the capability to pull even the strongest objects. They are very affectionate in nature and develop good bonds with people. But if you try to annoy them, they will come out of their sweet and gentle side and start behaving aggressively. The aggression level in Great Britain then was only 1 to 2%.
The Mastiff is among the largest and strongest dog breeds available. They may seem very difficult to handle, but in reality, they are not. They have the capability to handle a lot of weight and can go wherever you want. But do not forget that they are very affectionate and you will fall in love with them for sure.
The Doberman pincher is the perfect example of a working dog. They come with some protection skills and protect the master to the extent they can. They are very loyal and can be trained as required. During the training sessions, they are the most obedient ones and follow all the things suggested by the master. When you own a Doberman pincher, you can also train them to develop new habits.
Livestock Guardian Breeds
The Livestock Guardian breed is no doubt among the cutest dog breeds available. They can make you fall in love with them. But do not forget that they are really very strong and helpful. They have a gentle nature and can easily adapt to their surroundings. But make sure to provide them with the right surroundings, because if the surroundings are not good, they will not be able to adjust.
Tasks Mobility Assistance Dogs Can Help With
Multiple tasks are there in which mobility assistance dogs can engage. These are as follows:
- Mobility assistance dogs carry bags and small objects sufficiently.
- These dogs help individuals manage their surroundings, like:
- Turning the lights on and off,
- Retrieving the dropped items,
- Opening and closing the drawers, closets, and doors,
- Setting elevator buttons and so on.
Mobility assistance dogs have an infinite number of responsibilities, and they cannot be considered for a single task. You never know when your dog will surprise you with a move. According to research, mobility assistance dogs are extremely beneficial in managing daily activities. They are also trained in a manner that is helpful for people in emergency situations as well.
How Are Mobility Assistance Dogs Trained?
You might be curious to know how these dogs get trained. Let’s have a look:
Well, the training period required for mobility assistance dogs is around two years. Most of the time, the trainers choose puppies because they have a good temperament and are easy to handle. The individual who is training the mobility assistance dog almost spent 18 months voluntarily with a puppy educator and then moved ahead with training the dogs.
Along with that, the general procedure is as follows:
- The very first canine trainer is selected. The canine trainer will be selected by keeping a lot of factors in mind. Especially given their level of experience and the way they handle the dog.
- When the trainer is final, the selection of the puppy gets started. As we have mentioned, initially, a puppy is selected. The puppies will be selected on the basis of strength and stamina, along with their life duration. If they have a short lifespan and weak stamina, then they are not an ideal choice to be a mobility assistance dog.
- When the breed has been finalized, the trainer starts to train the dog. It takes nearly two years to train the dog in each gesture.
Also, do understand that mobility service dogs can perform their physical tasks effortlessly, but you need to be sure about their behavior as well. Behavioral changes are very common, so make sure you are not treating them with the opposite behavior when they are being aggressive.
Mobility assistance dogs are doing wonders for people. People who feel embarrassed about seeking human help are now free from it. They have the best partner with them, and there will be no need for them to feel embarrassed. But make sure to choose the best breed, because if the breed you have chosen is not the best, then you will not be able to get the results as expected. You can also seek help from a veterinary doctor, as they are well-versed in the nature of the dog’s breed.