A mobility assistance dog is a dog trained to perform tasks, which increase the independence of the person with body function and structure disabilities. Children who may benefit from a mobility assistance dog, are children who might have a variety disabilities such as brain injury, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, spina bifida, balance problems/ataxia, spinal cord injury or other similar conditions.How can a mobility assistance dog help?
• Psychological improvement
• Easier social acceptance
• Less stress and anxiety
• Better, easier and increased socialization skills (with the help and support of the service dog)
• Better and improved public access
Retrieving and giving a helping hand
• Retrieving different objects (medicines, personal need equipment) through the use of specific commands.
• Switching lights on or off by a command
• Using a remote controls, push buttons, elevator buttons, emergency buttons
• Making external calls from a phone to call for help if needed
• Helping to dress or undress the handler
• Open or close doors (of both buildings as well as appliances)
• Help and provide balance to the handler if needed (the handler can use the dog for balance if he/she feels weak to walk or dizzy, by wearing the balance harness).
• In case of weakness on the upper or lower part of the body, arthritis, muscles problems or anything else similar the dog can help the person sit on the chair, sofa or help one get up by pulling him/her after command is given.
• The dog can help and provide support even if the person is using a wheelchair. The dog will help the person move the wheelchair closer to a chair, bed, sofa and help him/her sit or pull to get up.
• In case of small incidents, like dropped items, (money, credit cards, even coins), the dog can retrieve and handle them to the person.
• The dog can also pay a bill, take a receipt, or pay by credit card or money to a cashier after a command.
The dog can follow the handler even to the grocery store. Upon being commanded it can help its caregiver with the shopping by selecting the products from the shelves and putting them into the basket. This way shopping becomes an easier and less stressful procedure for a person. These are a few common general tasks a dog can assist its handler with. Certain individuals might have additional/specific tasks, which can differ based on one's condition. The dog can learn additional commands in order to assist a person in need. The person (parents,caretakers) and the service dog trainer will discuss the needs and then work on the dog’s training plan.