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Assistance dogs training

The term “assistance dogs” refers either to all dogs which help people with any type of health impairments or, as in this case, only to dogs assisting disabled people with mobility problems.

This type of training, aimed to help mostly people using wheelchairs, first started in the 70’s in the United States, has so far never been substantially provided in the Czech Republic. Training assistance dogs for disabled is the main goal of Helping Paws. A fully trained assistance dog can learn up to 90 commands and combine these to perform various tasks. You cannot imagine this? Well, let’s go through the following list:

  • turning on and off light switche
  • bringing a specific object - telephone, leash, remote control, mail, newspaper, drink from a fridge or a bottle of medicine – and giving it to the person in the appropriate way
  • taking off gloves, socks or a jacket
  • pulling laundry out of a washer and dryer 
  • retrieving objects that fell from the hand – keys, pen, sheet of paper, coin, credit card – anything
  • opening and closing all types of doors 
  • calling an elevator 
  • carrying small items in a special backpack 
  • help during shopping – putting goods into shopping basket, giving wallet to the cashier 
  • pulling a wheelchair
  • carrying out garbage bag
  • opening refrigerator doors, kitchen cabinets or drawers etc. 

A main responsibility of an assistance dog is to help in case the person should fall from the wheelchair. In such an emergency, the dog is either able to provide support for the person to get back in the wheelchair or find help. Some assistance dogs are also especially trained to help people with balance problems, who normally use crutches. For such person the simple task of getting out of bathtub is a serious problem.

The extent of training is always adjusted to the specific needs of the client and the capabilities of the dog. While looking for the right team to match, we have to learn the extent of impairment, lifestyle, physical condition and personality. Helping Paws ensures a “tailor made” training with regard to both the needs of the client and the abilities of the dog. The spectrum of commands as well as training methods are comparable with world standards.