People that have service dogs and use mobility devices such as walkers, wheelchairs/power wheelchair or scooter can find it very challenging to maneuver in and out of doorways with their dog. Going through doorways is tough enough for abled body people with service dogs. I was just thinking about how hard it was for me to go through a doorway in a power wheelchair. If that wasn't hard enough, I added my service dog. It seemed almost impossible the first time I attempted it with my first service dog Jesse. I had no one to ask and nowhere to turn for information. I had to figure it out myself. So when I sat down to write this blog I wanted to answer the most common questions people have when using mobility devices while taking their service dogs along. I would like to look at the most common mobility devices used.
Let's start with the walker/rollator. When using a walker/rollator we must always make sure we have complete control of our service dogs. Going through a doorway with a walker can be a little tricky. Do we want the dog to go behind us or in front of us.
Let's look at Penny and her service dog in training Roz. Penny is having Roz go in behind her.
Roz continues and goes right back next to Penny to wait for instructions. Penny continues training Roz to go behind her in the doorway getting her use to going behind her so she is comfortable with the doorways. Eventually Roz has no problems going behind her as she enters the door way. Closing the door is also an important step to work with your service dog. Most people doesn't realize that closing doors once you and your dog goes through is not easy. As you see Penny and Roz have to turn around after going through the doorway. Penny waits for Roz to get through the doorway then kinda does a circle to turn around to close the door, which Roz handled very nicely. She is awesome.
I use a power wheelchair. As always safety and control of my service dog are my two main concerns. So deciding when and how my service dog will go through the doorway is important. I like to have my service dog go in behind me. That way I can monitor the situation my dog will be going into.
Lets watch Tesla learning to go through the doorways.
As with using a walker/ Rollator when you close the door using a wheelchair/power wheelchair its not easy closing the door behind you. I either have to go all the way into the room and then turn all the way around and then close the door. I can also get Tesla to close the door by grabbing the door pull after we have turned around. I don't have a video of Tesla closing the door, but am gonna try and get one to add to the blog very soon.
She was a little unsure of herself . She didn't know what to do with entering first. I really need to practice this with Tesla so she is more comfortable going in front of me in a door way.
There is times when your service dog needs to enter in the doorway first. An elevator or automatic doors like at walmart would be a couple of good examples of your service dog needing to enter the doorway first for their safety.
Lets look at Ashlynn and her Service dogs Lilly as they go through different doorways.
The first doorway is of Ashlynn and her service dog Lilly, going in front of her through a doorway. The second part is a video of her and her service dog going in an elevator. As you can see Ashlynn and Lilly have no problem maneuvering in an elevator safely. Ashlynn has full control of her dog as they enter the elevator.
I hope you all enjoyed this blog of going through doorways using mobility devices. Watch for more blogs to come on how to handle service dogs while using mobility devices.