Brace and mobility support dogs
Trained to help with locomotion
Mobility dogs are dogs specially trained to help a person with a physical impairment that affects how well they can move around. For a person in a wheelchair, a dog can pick up dropped objects, turn lights on/off, open doors or help transfer from the wheelchair to the bed. Some people are still capable of walking but might lose balance and fall without assistance. Dogs with a special type of harness can help with stability by counterbalancing.
Organizations that specialize in mobility service dogs will generally train them for up to 60 different behaviors. At Medical Mutts, we only train dogs for a handful of tasks related to mobility as our medical alert dogs sometimes also need to assist with mobility.
What are the dogs trained to do?
Retrieve dropped items
Bring the phone
Help get undressed by pulling on clothes
Help with transitions
Carry items in a backpack
Open doors in the home
Press handicap door buttons when out in public
Provide emotional support and comfort
Help get up from a chair or the floor
Provide balance and stability when walking
Pick up and return a cane if it falls off of the wheelchair
Unload clothes from the dryer.
Mobility assistance can provide valuable help and increase a person's feelings of independence. When the person is out in the community with his/her dog, he/she will also experience a definite change in the way others perceive their disability, as they will engage in conversation about the dog.
In addition to their skills to help with mobility issues, our dogs are taught all the behaviors required to pass the Public Access Test and meet or exceed the minimum standards of training established by the International Association of Assistance Dogs Partners (IAADP). You'll be able to safely and reliably take your service dog to work, to school, to the mall, restaurant etc.
What does science say?
A 2014 study on the "Effects of Partnerships Between People With Mobility Challenges and Service Dogs" showed that mobility assistance dogs can help in decreasing the time it takes to complete a task and in facilitating social interactions.