Dogtober: Super Pups Can Make a Difference In Your Community!

26 September 2016

Everyone is familiar with the concept of ‘guide dogs’ for visually impaired people that help the blind community move easier and safer in public places. In the last few years, there has been a shift in disability assistance.

A new canine support for disabled individuals is emerging – the Assistance dog. As an invaluable support for handicapped individuals, Assistance dogs are trained to provide daily aid, moral support and social integration into the community. Assistive dogs help not only those living with motor disability, but also psychiatric, mental, psychological incapacities.

Dogtober

Assistance dogs come from the same training program as Guide dogs. Assistance dogs are trained by a handler in a specialised organisation, for 4 months. During this time, the training Assistance dogs are taught how to walk beside a wheelchair and familiarise with specific environments, such as curbs, shopping centres, public transport.

Followed by a 3-week pairing time, the puppy learns to assist the disadvantaged person in his environment through some daily activities.

 

We would love to share an insight into how Assistance dogs are trained to perform a range of tasks and satisfy three specific assistant roles:

  1. PREHENSION

Firstly, Assistive dogs are trained to pick up objects. This prepares the dogs for situations such as keys slipping out by their partner’s hands. For people who cannot bend over to pick things up, this skill is extremely useful for overcoming high muscular weakness.

  1. SUPPORT

Secondly, the support training helps mobility impaired people to lean on their canine companions in order to move themselves from their wheelchair to their bed or car seat. The dog is also trained to help someone who fall off his mobility equipment.

  1. TRACTION

Finally, Assistive dogs then learn how to act on the left-hand side of the wheelchair (this is referred to the traction role). The dog learns how to pull the manual wheelchair and help the individual to get over curb stones or get onto an access ramp.

 

Assistive dogs are not limited to a particular breed, however it’s important for the dogs to be confident, but not aggressive. The training of an Assistive dog costing approximately $30,000 per dog, but the freedom and independence that an Assistive dog can provide an individual is priceless!

 

The team at Access Rehab is raising awareness for the Dogtober Foundation this October!

To help this cause, one of the most helpful things you can do is to donate money or share the information and spread the word!

To learn more about Dogtober and how Assistive dogs can change the lives of your patients or loved ones, follow the links below:

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