Teach Your Dog to Use to the Walkin' Wheels

Getting your dog comfortable and used to their new wheelchair

We created the Walkin’ Wheels with the intention that you will adjust the wheelchair, put your pet in it, and in a few moments watch him or her running and playing again. It can happen that way, but it doesn’t always.

A wheelchair can be an adjustment for an animal. To some, there is a strange device following him or her around making odd noises and getting caught on furniture and doorways. They will adapt to these changes, but need a little time. We recommend you be calm, quiet, and slow when putting on the wheelchair for the first time. Give your pet lots of stroking and reassurance. Treats help, too! Let the dog get used to the harness before attaching it to the wheelchair. It may take a few minutes or a few hours for your dog to get used to the harnesses.

  1. When starting this process we suggest that you use the dog’s favorite treats to reward your dog for walking forward. You won’t need to keep using these treats every day, just in the beginning of the training process. A hungry dog is a motivated dog! Work with your dog before you have fed him a meal. He will be more eager to pay attention and earn the food reward if he is hungry.
  2. Do not immediately put your dog in the wheelchair. Assemble the wheelchair and leave it in an area where your dog can see it, smell it, and touch it.
  3. Once the dog is comfortable near the wheelchair, put the front harness on and leave him or her alone for a while. Let the dog get used to the feeling of the straps.
  4. When your dog is comfortable, try putting him in the leg ring support system and attach the front harness to the wheelchair. Give him a treat for positive association.
  5. After your dog is in the wheelchair, hold the food reward right at his nose level. Feed him several pieces. Then you can move one foot backwards, again holding the food reward in front of you. He should then walk toward you to get the treat. Before you know it, he is walking in his Walkin’ Wheels®! Again, give him a treat and positive praise.
  6. Work in very short (5-10) minute sessions, several times a day. Give your dog rest periods between each session.

Note: Keep in control of the dog’s movement at first. Keep the dog in a clear area and keep him on a short leash. If the dog does become frightened, then disconnect the harness from the wheelchair and try again later. Until your dog gets used to the Walkin’ Wheels®, limit the amount of time spent in it.

The Walkin’ Wheels is designed to allow your dog to get exercise and physical therapy. Dogs cannot lie down in the wheelchair but will be able to urinate and defecate while in the wheelchair. Start with short periods and increase slowly. Make sure you don’t overdo it the first day. After your dog gets used to the wheelchair, he/ she can be in it 1 hour at a time. Then you will need to take him/her out to rest.