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Discussion Starter #1
I was in a very serious car accident at the beginning of the year. I have been bedridden ever since, I can use a wheelchair for very short periods of time but for the time being I am stuck in bed most of the day. Most of the worst of it has healed but the main issue is my leg. I will recover and be able walk again, but I will never recover full use and will not likely be super active in the future. I don't have any pets right now, it is not a good time for me obviously, but when I am more mobile I thought it might be nice to have a small dog keep me company. I hope someone might have some suggestions to help me find a dog that does not require a lot of exercise as I will not be able to provide it. I think a short walk in the evening just in my neighborhood is not unreasonable for me to do in the future, but most of the exercise would have to be in the yard when I let them out. Do they have small therapy dogs that are trained for something like this? What sort of breeds would be low maintenance like this? I like the idea of adopting a dog, but most of the shelter dogs I see seem big and hyper, and I can't be around a dog like that for my health. Thanks in advance.
 

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I was hoping there might be a type of dog that would fit that description as I’m not much of a cat person. I understand why you would say that though.
 

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I definitely agree, I wouldn’t want one until I am more physically able for sure. I wouldn’t be opposed to an older dog that was well behaved. What would be the minimum amount of exercise to keep a small dog happy, senior or otherwise? Just to see if it would be reasonable for me when I’m able to walk again?
 

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Are you thinking of getting a pet dog/emotional support animal (no specific training), or are you considering getting a service dog (i.e., one that has been specifically trained to mitigate aspects of your disability).

On the question of whether long walks are necessary for exercise, yes and no. If you aren't walking the dog, you do need to exercise the dog some other way. That can be achieved easier in a small dog versus a large one, because they can run comparatively more in a normal sized yard, and can run around inside a house without causing chaos. It rains most of the winter where I am in NoCal, and on those days I exercise the dogs as much as I can indoors. Hide toys and have them find it, hide their food around the house and make them find it instead of feeding, hiding birch oil odor for my scent trained dog to find, teaching tricks and playing training games. Playing fetch in the yard, doing the same kinds of games outside, and even teaching some kind of obstacle course can all be used outside, as well.

The biggest drawbacks I can think of for a dog that doesn't go out much is that they may become sensitized to the outside world (things they don't see as much become scarier) which does require an anxious predisposition to begin with, AND walks provide comparatively more enrichment than most indoor activities, in that if a dog is getting to sniff around a bit in addition to the physical exercise and getting to see things, they're getting more stimulation than they're likely getting inside their own home. It just takes more consideration in making sure their needs are met, IMO. Which most average pet owners don't do anyways.

In terms of a service dog- yes, small dogs can be trained for mobility related tasks. The main things you loose with a small mobility dog v.s. a big one is the ability for any kind of weight bearing assistance, most ability to hit handicap buttons (they tend to be too high up for small dogs to hit), and they may struggle with certain heavier objects in retrieval.

That said, if you are set on a small dog as a service dog, you may struggle to find an organization training small breed dogs for mobility assistance. Most use Labs and Goldens, or mixes of the two, because those breeds are very well suited for service work, and don't use smaller breeds because of the task limitations for mobility work.

I would strongly suggest going through an organizaton to get a pre-trained dog. There is usually a 3+ year waitlist, but there are many organizations available for mobility limitations. Canine Companions for Independence is a very large organization that I can recommend looking into.
 

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I have seen a number of people in wheelchairs or in scooters taking their little bichon type dogs for a walk outside. (not sure how they pick up after their dog, perhaps they have the long handled pooper scoopers) And you said you expect to be able to walk a little eventually, and that you would wait until then.
So I do think it is possible for you to do this, though it might be difficult with a puppy. Do you you have family members or friends who can help out should you need help?

Perhaps you can leave word with local vets that you would be interested in taking a little dog. Many seniors needing to go to nursing homes end up euthanizing their dog to keep them from having to go to the shelter.
 

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I've an apartment complex nearby that's set up for people of all ages with mobility issues. So I see and meet a fair amount of folks in power chairs and on scooters. They use the scooters and chairs to walk their little dogs, who sometimes walk and sometimes ride along. The humans are able to get off their vehicle of choice and tend to dog business no problem.

On nice evenings the humans set up a grill right out in front of the building, managing their dogs and grill and have dinner. Pretty cool.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Based on what you guys are saying I don’t think a service dog is what I need, I thought they had to get some kind of training to be just like an emotional support dog but I was wrong. I should be able to walk the dog a little every day and it sounds like even if I had to use the chair to walk it sometimes it should be okay. I do have some family and friends who would help if I asked, but I probably won’t start looking until I can at least walk it a little myself. I would be happy with a puppy of course but a small, calm older dog sounds nice too. I’ll definitely give some vets in my area a call when I’m ready to look as well as shelters.
 

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I think what you're looking for is a small, adult lapdog. The dog in my avatar (Miles) was a Pekingese-Shih Tzu mix, and he was delightful. After Miles passed, I adopted Asher, who's most likely a Pekingese-Cocker Spaniel mix. Asher is lying curled up on the floor next to me as I type this.

I would strongly recommend that you start by researching rescue groups in your area. I adopted Asher from a Pekingese rescue group that I've been following on Facebook for years. Asher's foster parents took great care of him and were able to give me a clear and thorough understanding of his temperament before I even met him.

Once you've narrowed your search of rescue groups, contact them and let them know what your interests and needs are. It's not uncommon for a rescue group to place an incoming dog with a potential adopter without advertising it. You might, for example, be a great match for a dog whose owner entered a care facility or passed away.

The right dog is out there for you. Take your time to find him or her, and for the record, I think an adult dog would be much better than a puppy.
 

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I agree. My dog is a seven year old Cairn terrier, but needs, and in fact prefers, less exercise than my previous Cairn. The difference in them was apparent when I “found” her at four years, so I knew that she was gentle , calm and quiet natured. She is happy with a walk each day at a park for twenty minutes and as she is trained to come on recall she could be walked by someone with limited mobility. Her main task is to quietly supervise while I work at my desk. If you are patient and ring shelters, or even breeders who might be rehoming a senior dog I think it’s quite doable. Think about grooming needs though, as little fluffy dogs need lots of brushing which can be a strain if you aren’t terribly agile.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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It is doable.

My 85 year old mother is in an electric wheelchair and has no plans to rehome or euthanize her Shetland Sheepdogs. Both of them are Senior Citizens, but she is definitely bonding more with the younger rescue Sheltie as her "dream dog" that she raised from a puppy ages.

My 80 year old cyberfriend is a wealth of wisdom about small dogs, but since she lives in the city, owns a condo, gets Meals on Wheels and never mentions children, I don't think she goes outside much any more and I know her two Senior Chihuahuas are strictly "house dogs".

My terrier mix isn't much bigger than a Chihuahua but she is an example of what you DON'T want: a loyal and devoted "velcro dog" who is perfectly content to curl up in my lap and snooze all day for days at a time to the detriment of her own mental health.

She is at her best when we can wander around in the woods all day every day. When she doesn't get what she needs, the world doesn't understand and becomes cruel and unreasonable.
 

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Pretty much all dogs need a lot of excerise, especially younger dogs, so if you're unable or unwilling to provide that, then you shouldn't get a dog. Also there's other issues like picking up their poop and cleaning up their mess. Be warned, a dog will take up a lot of your time. Don't just watch cute dog videos, they're only showing you the cute and happy part, there're a lot of issues that they're not showing you. Having a dog is very troublesome, it's like raising a kid but my god, it's so worth it, if you're willing to put in the time and energy.
Really sorry about your injury though, but if you really do decide to get a dog and is willing to put in the efford, you can always walk the dog with your wheel chair or bicycle or other means ( not sure how bad your injury is and how much mobility you have). Also you can look at it as, the dog being your excerise partner to help with your recovery, I'm sure you'll need some physical training yourself.
 

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What a wonderful collection of senior dogs! These are dogs that would not need much exercise at all, especially if you have a backyard that they could access.

I adopted Miles, the dog in my avatar, when he was about ten years old. He passed away earlier this year, but we had four lovely, lovely years together. I will never regret bringing home an older dog. He was nearly perfect.
 

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And then sometimes you find the opposite of what you are "seeking" in a dog.....

What a wonderful collection of senior dogs! These are dogs that would not need much exercise at all, especially if you have a backyard that they could access.

I adopted Miles, the dog in my avatar, when he was about ten years old. He passed away earlier this year, but we had four lovely, lovely years together. I will never regret bringing home an older dog. He was nearly perfect.
I actually found my sweet Sparky dog on Petfinder.com many years ago. I always say I "internet dated" him!!

Funny, I was looking specifically at the time for the following criteria:
Female, Rat Terrier, Puppy,

What Sparky was:
Male, Chihuahua, Four year old doggie

But---As soon as I saw his pic online at Petfinder I knew somehow he was destined to be with me. Without a doubt.

But, honestly, I was actually terrified to go meet him at first. I knew that adopting another dog esp a lil chihuahua was a lifetime commitment, most likely 15 years or more based on my past records with owning chihuahuas.

Anyway, fast forward til today--- I am soooooooo glad I found lil Sparky. He is a total joy, sweet little guy, a real trooper, gentle lil soul.

Even if he was not at all what I was "seeking" originally, thank heavens his photo crossed my computer that day long ago.


Taught me: Be open minded when seeking your perfect love connection doggie! Most dogs are sent to us, I say.....:dog-love:
 

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I had to spend 4 months in a wheelchair and my back and right leg were damaged bad enough that I had to go on disability.

I had been a dog owner my whole life and during my time in the wheelchair and recovering to a point where I could walk again... I lost both of my dogs. Harper, a rough collie x great Pyrenees mix, had to be put to sleep due to diabetes and Lacey an Australian shepherd mix, had to be put to sleep due to old age issues.

I went a year without a dog...never in my life have I been without a dog in my home...it was a terrible time in my life... injured, out of work, no disability money coming in yet, my savings was almost gone and I had lost both of my dogs...plus a cat, Shayle, had come up missing about 2 weeks before I got hurt.

But, once I got onto disability and knew what my financial outlook was going to be, I went out and got a 'project' dog. A rescue org...after investigating me...lol...allowed me to adopt a feral, who reminded me a lot of Lacey. She is a large dog, about 65 pounds. I also some 5 or 6 months later found a mentally handicapped pure bred Golden Retriever (75 pounds) from our local animal shelter...and I named him HaHa.

I could not walk these dogs. I Know everyone says... walk your dog...but it was not something I could do....physically it would have been too dangerous for me. One trip up due to my weak leg that unexpectedly will give out on me...or a dog jerking on the leash would have been murder on my back.

But I had a large back yard...and I could toss a ball...or toy...at least for HaHa...Jaya was too afraid of me to interact with me at that point. But, HaHa and she would walk around the yard with each other and HaHa eventually got Jaya to play with him.

HaHa didn't need a lot of mental 'challenge'...lol... and Jaya's brain was always in overdrive due to fear and in trying to figure out all these new things in her life that she never had to deal with...like living in house and learning that it was ok for a human to look at her and talk to her...etc.

Going for walks is not only physically good for a dog but also good on a mental note too. But, a person can work their way around that. I lost HaHa to cancer only a few years after I got him, and I have another Golden Retriever, AU, that I raised as a puppy.

My back is a bit better and my leg a bit stronger than it was when I first got Jaya and HaHa....but I still can't do daily walks...it's just too hard on my back... I have pretty bad back pain for several days if I do any amount of walking.

But I did make it a point to take AU to places several times a week, that allowed dogs...mostly a local thrift store and the farm & ranch store. There he was able to be socialized...with people..and with other dogs. I felt that was very important...but I won't lie... it was difficult on me... I was pretty exhausted and hurting those first 7 or 8 months of getting AU.

~There was 'clean up' with the spot cleaning machine...
~Basic training for the puppy...I spent a little time each day with leash work, sit, stay...bite inhibition work, and teaching him to take food gently.
~Plus, being that he was a puppy...he needed to be played with quite often...and at that point...Jaya wasn't wanting much to do with him...she's now his 'mamma'
~And...being that he's a Golden...he needs brushed quite often...they are shedders.

I might not be able to brush him all in one go...but I can do 5 minutes, quite for a few hours, and do another 5 minutes... same with his training.

Life changes after such injuries...and I think you will be finding out that things just don't get done all at once anymore when doing them yourself...but things can get done...it just takes longer.

If you get a dog, I would suggest waiting a little longer until you find out just how much you can do before you tire out, or what your strength level will be. I kind of jumped the gun with Jaya and HaHa...and spent a lot of time wondering what I got myself into...but for me... I needed to do something to keep from going crazy from boredom...even if on some days I didn't feel like caring or training the dogs...it gave me goals to do every day.

Also....now with AU and Jaya. I use a laser light on days when I think AU, especially needs to blow off some energy. I only do the light about 3 times a week and only for about 3 minutes or so. One must be careful and make sure their dog doesn't become obsessed by those lights, or they can start chasing any sparkle of light in the house. But it's nice to let them outside near dark or after dark...and AU can run full blast for some minutes going after 'the bug' Jaya likes to bounce after it too from time to time but at her age (12 to 13 years now) she's not all that into running after things.

Goldens are easy dogs as far as they can be energetic or complete couch potatoes...but while young, they still need to do things to keep from being bored. So I am several times a day tossing a toy a few times for him and playing tug of war - AU just has a nice steady pull...rarely jerks on the toys...so it doesn't hurt as much.

Goldens also shed a lot. So if you get a dog, you might ask your local shelter for a 'low energy' dog...and also as far as a coat...a lower maintenance one. This could make things easier for you. If you can't walk the dog, you should try other things to give the dog some activity every day. Hopefully though, you will get strong enough to take safe walks again.


Stormy
 

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Hey if you are looking for some animal therapy, Dog will be a good choice there are so many dogs who will give you the emotional support and love. The Dog is an incredible companion human from so long time, So it would be a great idea to get a dog.
There are many Dog breeds that you can get.
 
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