Ideas For Helping Out A Man With His Dog?


Experienced Member
So, recently, a man contacted me seeking help with his dog. He's on a wheelchair and can only move well his right arm, which he uses to move his wheelchair (one of those electric wheelchairs). He has a 6 months old labrador x husky puppy that he wants to train so he can go out with her off-leash.
I've started with a "look at me" command, and socialization. The puppy, Ona, is quite fearful of dogs and people, so we're counter-conditioning that. She still needs a LOT of socialization. She pulls a lot on the leash, but apparently she walks okay off leash with this man's mother.
He also wants to train her to sleep at his feet and follow him around.

Any suggestions on exactly what to teach? I'm starting with "look at me" and "heel" on the left and right side. Any other things you might find useful? I've also thought about teaching her "speak" in case he needs something or he's in trouble, and to ring doorbells (I think she'll be tall enough).

A problem I've encountered is that in parts of the city there is no wheelchair access (to get on/off the sidewalk) so he has to walk on the street instead of the sidewalk. This poses a problem with Ona, because there's not enough space for her to walk besides her owner. So she'd have to walk in front of him. The mother suggested her to walk on the sidewalk, but she'd be 2-3 meters away from her owner, which is contradictory to what we're trying to teach, right?

Thoughts? I'm wondering if I'm doing things okay. It's my first time with this kind of case and I want her to be well trained, her owner is a very nice man and I think it will do wonders for him.


Honored Member
I think they teach the service dogs, to walk behind the wheelchair on command, here. So that might solve the problem for walking on the streets.
As for other things that might be helpfull for someone in a wheelchair, maybe teach her to pick up things? Like keys, wallet, the leash. Push open a door?


Experienced Member
The owner wasn't sure about her walking behind the chair because he didn't like that he couldn't see her. What I thought was maybe walking on the front and teaching go right/left so he can direct where he wants her to go. But still, I don't like the idea of the dog walking in front of the chair, it's easier for her to get distracted.

Thanks for the suggestions n.n. Sounds really useful!


Honored Member
What if he has Ona walk behind the wheelchair and to make sure she's still there he can ask her to speak to insure she's still behind him. This way he won't be worrying if she is still there and safe.
Some things that he might find helpful of her doing. Closing doors, opening cabinets, refrigerator, retrieving things from the fridge and cabinets.
I think it's wonderful that your helping this man out.(y)


Experienced Member
Thanks! That's a very nice idea. I'll tell him about it next time I see him, I guess it will be in the next few days.
opening and closing doors, doing the laundry, picking things up from the floor or out of cupboards (teaching her the name of things will come in handy here, bowls, slippers, drinks, keys, bits of paper) and barking when he is in trouble would be ones I'd want a service dog to know. I often drop things on the floor, both at home and outside and reaching from my chair is really hard. As is loading and unloading the washing machine/dryer. Good luck :)


Experienced Member
only had a minute but found this video

Maybe by contacting this person or other organizations you find (I just googled service dogs wheelchair)
they might be willing to answer some of your questions more proffessionally.