According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over 48,000,000 U.S. households have dogs. Many of these dogs also develop disabilities as they get older.
If you’re one of the millions of families living with an aging dog or adopting an older dog, you might want to learn the best ways to train dogs with disabilities. This guide will discuss what you should know. Keep reading to learn more.
Learn About Their Disability
The best way to motivate and train a dog with a disability is by learning more about its condition. While deafness or blindness are easy to understand, you might want to do some research on less common conditions.
Make sure you learn about what caused your dog’s disability and the limits it puts on them. This will help you set the right expectations for training and prevent overexerting your pup.
Create a Routine
Having a daily routine is important for every dog, especially one with a disability. A routine will ensure your dog gets the care they need to live a healthy life.
Planning regular training sessions into that routine will help your dog learn commands faster. The sessions should be brief but consistent.
Schedule two training sessions of 20 minutes each day to keep your pup learning without overworking them.
Use Sign or Sound Commands
Hand signals are the best way to train a deaf dog. All dogs can read body language pretty well, so your dog should be able to learn these commands well.
Sound cues should be used to train blind dogs. These commands should teach your dog basics like sitting or staying.
Using hand signs or sound commands should help correct compulsive behaviors in your dog as well.
Find Specialized Toys
There are many great toys for dogs with disabilities. The market for toys for blind dogs is expansive. It includes squeaky, textured, and scented toys.
While any squeaky toy might work for a blind dog, you should consider a toy that makes different sounds. A chew toy that makes a variety of animal sounds is a great way to keep your blind dog engaged.
These can be used as training tools but are also great for playtime when your dog needs a break.
Positive Affirmations Are Key
Positive rewards are the best way to help your dog learn. You want your dog to have fun while they’re learning. They won’t be able to learn if they’re afraid of being punished.
Instead of getting angry with your dog, use different cues to indicate they’re doing something wrong. You can firmly say no when they don’t listen to your command. When they do get something right, they should be rewarded with a treat.
The Best Ways to Train Dogs With Disabilities
The tips in this guide should help you successfully train dogs with disabilities. Make sure you incorporate short training sessions into their daily routine and use specialized toys to provide rewarding time off too.
Check out some of the other pet and animal blogs on our site if you found this one helpful.