Potential adopters often overlook special-needs dogs because they fear the disability deems the dog untrainable or they feel the dog requires considerably more time and money than a dog without disabilities. Honestly, all dogs require time and money. Unless an ongoing medical problem caused the disability, special-needs dogs do not require any additional medical care than a dog without disabilities. Special-needs dogs are resilient. While they may require different training methods, they do respond well to training.
Sublime K9 Dog Trainers are fortunate to meet and train disabled dogs. We have trained three-legged dogs, deaf dogs and blind dogs. In each case, the dog learned the same commands as our students without disabilities. The most difficult part of our job is not training the dog, it’s getting their owner to treat them the same way they would treat any other pet.
Here are a few client stories:
Tupper was two when his abusive owner abandoned him. Injuries this boy suffered resulted in the amputation of his hind leg. In addition to the physical injuries, Tupper required training to deal with aggressive behavior. Determined to change Tupper’s life for the better, Jessica, Owner of Sublime K-9 Dog Training, visited the animal hospital where Tupper lived and worked with him each day. Missing a leg did not prevent this boy from thriving. He quickly learned a series of commands, including heel, place, sit, stay, come and look. Her leadership skills taught Tupper to look to her for direction rather than making poor decisions.
What did the future hold for Tupper? You’ll have to read on to find out.
Pepper was born deaf and with limited eyesight. These disabilities are a result of careless breeding. Boredom and a lack of structure caused Pepper to exhibit destructive behavior. While it is a challenge to train a dog with both visual and hearing impairments, it is not impossible. Pepper learned her commands through touch, sign language and vibration. We taught her to look for her owner the moment she felt a vibration. Her owner then instructed her with sign language. Pepper successfully learned all of the basic training commands. Training brought Pepper out of her own world and helped her bond with her family. The structure left Pepper less bored and helped her owners redirect her when she makes wrong choices.
Elsa, a blind pit-mix, is an internet sensation. She and her litter-mates were dumped in a shelter shortly after birth. While most of the pups were quickly adopted, Elsa was not as lucky. A rescue saved her from shelter life and worked tirelessly to find her a home. She participated in numerous adoption events, her picture filled social media and she even enjoyed a television stint. People fell in love with the lovable dog, yet she waited for over a year for her forever home. Why? Because potential adopters feared she would not thrive with their limited knowledge of raising a blind dog.
Katie, a dog trainer for Sublime K-9 Dog Training, fostered Elsa for two months. During that time, Elsa learned sit-stay, come, place, stop, step-up, leave it and drop it. Elsa learned the layout of the house and the yard-within two weeks. After one month in the home, she learned to find her crate from anywhere in the house. Contrary to popular belief, she quickly adapts to furniture changes in the home and new environments by using her front paws to navigate new settings. She even overcame her fear of taking walks around the neighborhood with her family and canine brother.
How did these dogs handle life after the training? We have the answers.
Tupper’s story has a happy ending. He lives with his trainer Jessica. Their bond was strong right from the beginning, so she rescued him. He occasionally accompanies Jessica in training other dogs. Elsa’s foster home with Katie turned into her forever home. Increased comfort and confidence for these dogs are the result of proper pack structure and consistent training.
The next time you are on the hunt for a new best friend; don’t fear welcoming a special-needs dog into your life. They make great companions. The certified dog trainers of Sublime K9 Dog Training are always available to provide a helping hand. Call for a free evaluation. You can reach us by calling (631) 241-6482.