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How Quickly Will It Take My Dog to Get Used to a Dog Wheelchair?

How Quickly Will It Take My Dog to Get Used to a Dog Wheelchair?

We help fit dog wheelchairs here at the office, and it’s our experience that most dogs get moving with their dog wheelchair with no problem at all.

  1. Let Them Get Acquainted with Their Cart

As a dog owner, you’ve spent countless hours researching and choosing the best wheelchair for your best friend. Buying a wheelchair was the right decision for you and your dog, but it can take time for your dog to understand what their new wheels are for. Some dogs may need a while to adjust to their wheelchair being around. Place the wheelchair in a room where your dog is comfortable and let them investigate it on their own. For skittish dogs, consider rewarding them with a treat when they go up to it or sniff it. This helps them to form a positive association with their new wheelchair.

  1. Be Patient

Stay calm and slowly introduce your dog to their wheelchair. Understand that this can be stressful for both you and your dog. If you feel yourself becoming frustrated, take a step back, and take a break. Getting your dog up on their feet and walking should be a fun experience for both of you. Make sure that when your dog tries their wheelchair for the first time, it’s somewhere where they feel comfortable and safe. Begin in a wide, open space so your dog can adjust to their wheelchair and how it feels, without worrying.

  1. Take it One Step at a Time

Don’t overdo it the first time your dog walks in their new wheelchair. This is likely the first time your dog has been able to exercise on their own in a longtime. Understand your dog’s limitations - even a few small steps in your backyard is a huge accomplishment for them. Don’t expect them to be able to go on a long walk their first time out. Take it slow and let them walk for a few minutes at a time, so they don’t get too tired. Five to ten minutes is perfect for their first time in their wheelchair. Slowly build up the amount of time they’re in their canine mobility cart by adding a few minutes to each walk. This will help them to build up their stamina and strength at a slow and steady pace.

  1. Encourage them to move forward

Ideally your dog should always have positive associations with their wheelchair and see being in the wheelchair as a positive experience. Encourage your dog with lots of praise as they take their first steps. Some dogs are highly motivated by food, so bring treats along with you on your walk. If your dog isn’t a fan of treats, try their favourite toy, or bring their favourite person or dog with them for their first walk. 

Every milestone should be celebrated along the way. Your dog may not realise that it’s ok for them to relieve themselves while using their wheelchair. Here are a few things you can do to encourage them to do their business:

  • If your dog has a long tail, lift, and drape it over the back bar of their cart. This gets it out of the way and makes it easier for them to poop.
  • Bring them to their favourite potty spot. Not only will this encourage them to go, but it makes them more comfortable.
  • Praise and give them lots of treats when they relieve themselves to reinforce their actions.
    1. Get the right fit

    Getting the right fit to your dog’s wheelchair will help to make them comfortable, feel safe, and encourage them to keep on moving. But how do you know if the wheelchair is adjusted correctly for your dog? A few minor tweaks can make a world of difference and help make your dog feel even more comfortable and secure in their new wheels.

    Read how wheelchairs can transform your dog's life

    Read more here:

    Previous article Reasons Your Dog May Lose Hind Leg Mobility

    Read how dog wheelchairs can transform your dog's life

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    Looking for help with your dog?

    Looking for help with your dog?

    We can help find the right solution for your dog

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