Wheelchair assistance dogs, commonly known as mobility assistance dogs, are a great help to many in the world in their daily lives. These individual service dogs can accomplish a multitude of different tasks, and when called upon, can even prevent various accidents. They are friendly canines that increase the quality of life for their handlers.
In this post, we want to get you firmly acclimated with wheelchair assistance dogs, and give you information that relates to every part of their lives. We will cover why people need these animals, what tasks they can accomplish, how to find and locate a mobility assistance dog, and what it costs to own one.
After everything, you should have a pretty good idea of what a wheelchair assistance dog is like, and how you can obtain one if needed.
Who Needs a Wheelchair Assistance Dog and Why?
According to federal law, a person who requests a wheelchair assistance dog must have a specific disability. This disability could vary. Someone might have mental, physical, or developmental problems. Either way, a disability must be present if a person wants to apply for a service dog. Here is a list detailing different physical disabilities that might require a mobility assistance dog.
- Cerebral Palsy
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Neurological, cardiac, or metabolic disorder
- Spina Bifida
These aren’t the only people who can benefit from a wheelchair assistance dog, but they are some of the many people who struggle moving about.
Specifically, anyone who has trouble moving around due to a disability might be qualified to request a wheelchair service dog. Dogs are commonly known as man’s best friend, and just helping someone move about is a big deal. Often times we take mobility for granted. But a person who is confined to a wheelchair needs help on a daily basis. A canine friend can be a great option.
A basic way to keep up with the idea of needing a wheelchair assistance dog is whether someone can live an independent life without the help of another. If they can, they probably don’t need a mobility animal. But if they need help moving or doing other things, then they probably qualify for a wheelchair assistance dog.
Tasks These Dogs Complete
One of the great things about these animals is the ability they have to accomplish a large variety of tasks. And also take on a huge load of responsibilities. Here are a few of the tasks that they can complete.
- They can retrieve a ringing phone and bring it to the owner.
- The dog can hit a light switch to turn lights and other things on and off.
- An assistance dog can press a variety of buttons including elevator switches and disability panels on the outside of doors.
- The animal will help support the owner when they are traveling, walking, or moving up and downstairs.
The mental aspect of owning a service animal is also huge. These canines can sense when something is physically wrong with their owner, alert a handler of emotional or personal problems, and even provide comfort and care when no one else is around. The service dog encourages the owner by being a friend even when it seems like everyone is gone.
Some mobility assistance dogs can even perform crazy tasks like helping someone during a seizure, and retrieving medicine that a patient needs to take in order to stay healthy.
How are Wheelchair Assistance Dogs Trained?
There is no perfect training program that just pops out dogs that can do all of these things. Often times, trainers develop relationships with their dogs and then slowly but surely teach the canine different tricks. They then push them to learn different tasks and responsibilities. It is quite common to see these canines trained at the beginning of their lives for a few weeks or months depending on what exactly they are going to be doing.
Many of them will be trained to complete specific tasks for their specific owners. Some training will take longer than others, so it’s important to note how much training your animal will need before it will be ready to help you in public spaces on a day to day basis.
We recommend that you do a bit of investigation into the organization, and how their training operates before diving into their company. Research can prevent unwanted attributes in your canine, and really solidify what you need your service dog to accomplish.
How to Find a Mobility Assistance Dog
Finding the right mobility assistance dog might be more difficult than you think. Many of these dogs are expensive and require upkeep. We will talk a bit more about how much they cost in the paragraphs below. But first, we want to give you some options for acquiring a service dog. Especially if you or one of your loved ones is in need of an assistance animal. So here is a pretty comprehensive list of 8 different places that can help you get a service dog for yourself.
This organization is mostly based in the North East of the United States. They focus on putting awesome dogs with even better owners. They train dogs individually to meet the needs of the handler that they are being trained for which adds to the quality of their dogs in general. This is a great option for anyone in the North East. The one disadvantage here is that they require you to be within 250 miles of their city in Pennsylvania before applying. But, if you meet those requirements, then step right up, and check out their website right here!
Service Dogs for America
This is an important group to note when it comes to wheelchair assistance animals. These people won’t help you get a service animal, but you need to register your service animal with them to get all of the correct licensing for your canine. Especially when it comes to flying, Service Dogs for America will help make your travels hassle-free and give you everything you need to be successful with your animal in public. To look at the licensure options, just click the link right here.
4 Paws For Ability
An awesome group that also provides animals for people in the United States, 4 Paws provides great quality training and breed selection, making them one of the premier animal services in the country. Look to them to help you with budgeting, training, and licensure advice. Attaining a service dog is a pretty big task, but it can be much easier with the help of 4 Paws for Ability. You can look at their website, and all that they offer right here.
Canines For Hope
This breeding service offers options for general training, obedience school, and service training for canines. Based out of Palm City, Florida the Canines For Hope specialize in service and therapy training and promise that you won’t have to worry about long wait times either. There shouldn’t be a long list of people in front of you. If you want to see an extensive list of what Canines for Hope brings to the table, check out their website
Paws With a Cause
This company isn’t just a service dog provider, but it also possesses a wide bank of information on the topic of training in general. Paws with a cause is by far one of the best options on our list. Visiting their website will not only provide you with information and training videos, but you can also find prices of training and service dog options. Paws with a Cause is a great way to purchase a service dog, and we highly recommend checking them out.
Little Angels Service Dogs
This company is a non-profit organization that seeks to change lives one dog at a time. They have multiple programs and provide hearing, seeing, and mobility assistance dogs. They offer a variety of breeds, and a few different training options as well. You can seek out further information by visiting their website right here.
This actually isn’t a provider of service animals but rather a large bank of information. The site provides a pretty in-depth guide to getting a mobility assistance dog right here. There are also many other options that they recommend, such as “Seeing Eyes” which is a non-profit organization that helps with seeing eye service dogs. The great part of this website is that it will help you further understand dogs, and will also give you recommendations on different training options and other great helpful tips.
What it Costs to Own a Wheelchair Assistance Dog
The cost of a service animal is pretty expensive, but there are options for people who do not have a lot financially. There are grants, applications, and tax benefits that will help you cover the financial costs of a wheelchair assistance dog. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are trying to apply or budget finances for your new service dog.
How Much Does One Cost?
The median cost of a wheelchair assistance dog is anywhere between $15,000 – $50,000. That might sound extremely expensive, but you have to think about everything that goes into the process. First off, the breed of dog is important. Many of these animals breed can cost a good bit. At the same point, training is also relatively expensive.
Now, there are grants and applications that you can apply to try and cut that price in half. At the same point, there are many companies that will help set you up with a free wheelchair assistance dog. These companies normally take applications for their service dog programs. Be sure to check and see what a company offers and what you can get help with. Also, you can check into tax breaks as well. The government gives some leniency with the upkeep of a service animal.
You want to keep your wheelchair assistance dog healthy and happy on a daily basis. This is why we recommend that you budget out how much food and vet trips will cost you on a monthly basis. It can be a little tough to figure out what you need, but again there are grants and providers online for these options, you just need to do some research for them.
To sum up this article, wheelchair assistance dogs are awesome animals that accomplish a bunch of different tasks and can help transform your life as a disabled person. The tasks that these innovative canines can complete are tough and help build up your quality of life. If you or a loved one needs a wheelchair assistance dog we hope that this blog post helps you find what you are looking for in a service animal. At the end of the day, research is your best friend. If you do a stead amount of investigation at the beginning it will save you in the end. The best service dogs are good breeds that are trained well. If you focus on finding a company that meets these criteria, you won’t go wrong.
We hope you find the perfect wheelchair assistance dog for all of your needs.