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Discussion Starter #1
My partner and I have a 15 week old puppy, Tori is an italian greyhound with a Lhasa apso cross so she's smaller than our cats. Tori so far is very well behaved and I've trained her from scratch (the breeder did very little with her). Just this last week I took her for her first walk (the breeder hadn't had her vaccinated so we had to wait the typical 2 weeks after the first jab) and she was amazingly well behaved.
My partner has a lot of medical issues and is legally classified as disabled and relies upon me pushing her in a wheelchair to go on walks. What I'm hoping to do is train Tori to walk calmly beside the wheelchair so that my partner can come with us on our daily walks. I just don't know how to go about it because Tori shows no interest in treats when she's outside (even her absolute favourites) and obviously using the wheelchair could potentially be dangerous if she gets caught around the wheels.

I would really welcome any suggestions.
Thank you!
 

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Do you have any trainers in your area that train service dogs? Even just one or two sessions to learn the techniques "hands on" could be really helpful. So much of training is easier if you can see it demonstrated rather than trying to figure it out from text.

My dog's trainer trains service and working dogs. When we were there a few weeks ago one of her clients was there with his service golden retriever who was taught to heel beside the wheelchair. Important things were that the dog stopped whenever the chair stopped, gave space beside it (of course) and gave wide clearance when turning.

Could you use one of the bicycle attachments on the arm of the wheelchair? Like the WalkyDog bike leash or if you are handy with tools, fix up an attachment of your own that would keep the dog at a safe distance from the wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm afraid there isn't any trainers in our area qualified for service dogs, we live in quite a rural area so that makes it slightly more difficult.

I haven't come across an attachment that could be fitted to the wheelchair that would keep such a small dog away from the wheels. Tori was so small at 11 weeks old that we struggled to find a collar that would fit her, in fact her collar only started to fit properly a week before she was allowed out on walks. I've been scouring the internet trying to find some training tips which I could take direction from but they all seem to be for people who want the dog to pull the wheelchair for them, or they want the dog to pick up objects that have fallen from the owners lap. I just want her to be able to safely and calmly walk at the side of the wheelchair on walks and eventually when my partner gets a mobility scooter to do the same with that.

I really appreciate you taking the time to reply, I will continue to try and find a suitable attachment. Thank you :)
 

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In my experience from wheeling one of those shopping buggy things and walking dogs at the same time, they learn to stay away from the wheels. Large moving objects are kind of scary to most dogs, so for mine the trick was getting them to walk beside the cart and not on the other side of the sidewalk. If I were you, I'd get your partner to hold Tori's leash (if they can) and start by going slowly. Have you tried walking Tori with the wheelchair yet? If I were you, I'd just try and see how it goes and if Tori will walk nicely beside the wheelchair without any special attachments or anything.

If you want an attachment, you could always try making your own. A pole with a hole in the end to thread the leash through would probably do the trick. A little bit of creativity and you could probably find a way to affix that to the wheelchair, or you could have your partner hold it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We've been getting Tori used to being around the wheelchair by keeping it in the living room in her sight. So far she appears very comfortable around it and has seen me move it (when i'm cleaning or taking my partner out into the garden), I havent tried her at the side of the wheelchair while it's moving because I was worried about her straying too close to the wheels. My partner can hold the lead on average days so that shouldn't be a problem if its a bad day I suppose we can loop it through the arm rest or something.

The more i've looked at attachments the less i've liked the idea of them, most are highly against being used for small dogs and if I could make one there really isn't low enough place to attach it to the current wheelchair we have.
I think if the weather is decent (unlikely as it's England) tomorrow I'll try my partner holding the lead and see how Tori does. I was just unsure of whether or not it was safe for her so I feel reasured. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, I've found all the suggestions very helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for taking the time out to help. Yesterday my partner and I took Tor out for a walk with the wheelchair, after a few unsure moments she really got the hang of it. For the first time we all enjoyed a walk together and I feel confident that with plenty of repetition Tori will be walking beside the wheelchair like a pro. Hopefully after enough training we will be able to take her to some bigger parks in the future.
 
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