As faithful family members that give us unconditional love, dogs deserve to be loved, cherished and respected, regardless of any disabilities they might be dealing with. If your canine best friend is dealing with mobility issues, a wheelchair gives them the ability to thrive. Here are some tips to help your dog get used to a dog wheelchair.
Getting your dog used to dog wheelchair
Getting your dog used to a dog wheelchair is usually easy — it may take moments for your dog to realize he can run again. Sometimes, though, there is an adjustment period.
Dog wheelchairs give pets the mobility they need to live active, healthy, and happy lives. The dog uses their front legs to move about, play and explore. They can go to the bathroom in a wheelchair. The back legs lightly touch the ground in the wheelchair or can be safely held up by stirrups.
What type of mobility issues are aided by dog carts?
Dog wheelchairs can help dogs with health issues that include:
- Neurological Problems
- Hip Dysplasia
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Spinal Problems
- Surgery Recovery
- Weakness in the limbs
Whether or not a dog can benefit from using a wheelchair depends on the severity and nature of the disability.
Learn More: Is My Dog Ready for a Wheelchair?
Adjusting to the wheelchair
Most dogs enjoy the freedom that a wheelchair provides and quickly adapt to life on wheels. Sometimes it can take longer, and in these cases training might be needed to help the dog adjust.
In some cases, the personality or age of the dog can end up causing them to be leery of the wheelchair. Some dogs are put off by the sounds the wheelchair makes, also troubled if it gets hung up on furniture. Most adapt to the wheelchair eventually but some just need extra TLC to get through the process. The best results will come from you being patient, reassuring, and calm.
Sometimes the dog may be having trouble trouble getting used to the wheelchair because it is uncomfortable. Usually, a few simple adjustments is all it takes for a more comfortable fit. This is the reason why it’s important to have a fully adjustable wheelchair. The Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair is the only wheelchair that adjusts easily in length, width, height, and wheel angle.
Not sure if your dog’s Walkin’ Wheels is adjusted correctly? Contact our Wheelchair Experts at 1-888-253-0777
Make the Wheelchair a Positive Experience
When starting this process we suggest that you use the dog’s favorite treats to reward your dog for walking forward during the training process. It’s a good idea to work with the dog while they’re hungry. They’ll be more eager to pay attention if it means getting a treat as a reward. Following are some tips that can help get a dog ready for a wheelchair. Work with them in short sessions (5 to 10 minutes), several times a day, giving the dog rest periods between sessions.
If your pet isn’t food motivated, find out what does motivate them. A favorite toy or even encouragement from their favorite person may be all they need.
Tip: Stay Calm. If you’re feeling stressed, you’re dog may become anxious. If you feel frustrated, take a break and try again later.
Let Your Pet Get Comfortable Around the Wheelchair
Snap the wheels into the frame and leave it out in the open, letting your dog smell it, touch it and get used to it being there. Keep the assembled wheelchair in a place your dog feels safe and comfortable. By keeping the wheelchair somewhere easily accessible to your pet, it will allow them to get comfortable with it on their terms.
Put on the harness
Once the dog is feels at ease around the wheelchair, put the front harness on him or her – this may take them a bit to get used to. If your dog is timid or shy, give it time and move at their pace. Let them adjust to the feel of the harness and the sounds it makes when you click it into place. Harness fit is important! Make sure the harness is adjusted correctly, a well fitting harness will be more comfortable and put your dog at ease!
Add the rest of the wheelchair parts
Once the dog seems comfortable with the harness, attempt to put him or her into the dog wheelchair. Comfort the dog as you do so and offer treats as a positive connection. Next, hold the treats at their nose level. Give them several, then move away a bit, holding the treat reward out in front of you. In most cases the dog will start to walk toward you for the treat. Encourage the dog with positive praise. Most pets pick up on their owners cues, if you have a positive attitude and are excited for them at every stage, your dog will get excited!
Many veterinarians in the US and around the world are actively recommending and using dog wheelchairs for their patients. They can be used to help recovery from surgery, get exercise and build muscle mass. They can also be used for long-term, extended use. Once your dog gets used his or her dog wheelchair, it becomes a simple part his a happy, healthy life.
To check if you have adjusted the Walkin’ Wheels correctly on your pet, go to the How to Adjust Your Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair blog post.