Mobility Assistance Dogs

Mobility assistance dogs perform many tasks to mitigate day to day tasks a person with a physical disability may struggle with. Navigating the world with a mobility assistance dog can make previously unaccessible places easier to cope with, and give the recipient independence. Mobility assitance dogs perform a variety of tasks including:

  • Opening/closing doors

  • Retrieving dropped or stationary items

  • Retrieving necessary equipment such as a phone or medication on command (even several rooms away)

  • Picking up canes or pulling a walker closer

  • Helping to pull heavier items

  • Turning lights on/off

  • Carrying necessary items such as money, keys, medications

  • Assist in activities such as dressing

  • Go for help

  • Provide balance to a person with a(n) ataxic/antalgic/ spastic gait

  • Act as a brace during instability during transferring or when moving from sitting to standing

 

Clerks at hard to reach counter tops can be handed payment, the ability to call for help without worrying about dropping the phone, or the ability to pick up items without help gives clients the tools to move through life independently.

 

Use in Therapies

As with other types of service dogs, mobility assistance dogs can be utilized during specific  therapies such as physical and occupational therapy. In adults and children a mobility assistance dog may be integrated into maintenance therapies like stretching, grip, and coordination. Children sometimes find it more enjoyable to have a dog included in their therapies; redirecting attention onto a positive stimulus (the dog ) during uncomfortable tasks can make the sessions easier for both the child and clinicians . A mobility assistance dog can also keep their partner engaged in the activities and provide a motivation for progress.