Good Dogs for Someone in a Wheelchair

by Heather Vecchioni
    Labrador retrievers typically make good companions for those in wheelchairs.

    Labrador retrievers typically make good companions for those in wheelchairs.

    labrador image by Wojciech Gajda from

    If you are in a wheelchair and desire to obtain a dog, choosing an appropriate breed is essential. When deciding which breed to acquire, you must take a few things into consideration, such as the size and temperament of the dog. Larger dogs usually work well for those in wheelchairs, as they can often be trained to help the person. Typically, breeds that are popular as service dogs are the best choice for a person in a wheelchair.

    Labrador Retrievers

    Labrador retrievers are known for their outgoing and friendly personalities. They are also used quite often as service dogs because of their intelligence, loyalty and strength. According to the Labrador Retriever Facts website, labs are very popular service dogs for those who are wheelchair bound. If trained properly, labs can help people in wheelchairs open doors and can often grab items for them. Although labs generally do well living with people who are in wheelchairs, they need to receive adequate amounts of exercise. Therefore, anyone who owns a lab must be able to provide it with the high level of activity it likely requires. For instance, you may need to hire a dog walker to take your lab for a daily stroll or take your pooch to the dog park every day and let it stretch its legs. If you do not provide the amount of exercise it needs, it may develop behavioral issues out of frustration.

    Golden Retrievers

    Known for their calm temperament and loving nature, golden retrievers often work as service dogs. Similar to labs, goldens can be taught to perform various service tasks and can also provide companionship to those in wheelchairs. Goldens and other large dogs are good for those in wheelchairs because they can get out of the way of the wheels, whereas some smaller breeds may not be able to. In addition, the noise and size of the wheelchair will likely not scare a golden like it may a smaller dog. Goldens are active dogs and require daily exercise to keep their minds balanced. In addition, goldens have a tendency to gain weight and exercise can help to keep their bodies healthy.

    German Shepherds

    According to the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, German shepherds are often used as guide dogs to service those in wheelchairs. Their size, strength, intelligence and loyalty are what makes them ideal for those in wheelchairs. Shepherds can be trained to complete many tasks for those who are disabled and can provide them with the companionship they need. They can also provide a certain amount of protection for the owner, as they can usually help defend against any perpetrators. Since shepherds can have dominance issues, it is important to carefully screen any you are interested in obtaining. The shepherd will require daily exercise.

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    About the Author

    Heather Vecchioni is a freelance writer in Maryland. Her work has appeared in several animal-interest magazines, as well as Baltimore-area newspapers and publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland. She has worked in the veterinary field for over 10 years and has been writing and editing professionally for over five.

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