Training a small dog when you have mobility limitations can be challenging. However, there are several strategies and modifications you can use to make training more accessible for you!
Use a Chair or Stool
Sit on a chair or stool during training sessions to reduce the need to bend down. Your small dog can still come to you for commands, and you can still interact with them at eye level.
Attach your small dog's leash to a secure point at your waist or to a waist belt. This way, you have more control and can train without bending down. Keep treats or toys in a treat pouch attached to your waist for easy access.
Raise Your Dog
Place your small dog on an elevated surface, such as a low table or bench, so that they are closer to eye level. To train a small dog when it's hard to bend down, you want to help your dog focus on your commands in any way possible. Although this technique is on the more creative side, it may work for you!
Teaching Stand Commands
Teach your dog commands like "sit" and "stay" that require them to stay in one place. This can minimize the need to bend down and allow you to issue commands from a more comfortable position.
Use long-handled tools like a clicker or a target stick to mark behaviors or guide your dog during training. These tools can be used without needing to bend down.
If possible, ask a family member, friend, or a dog training partner to assist you during training sessions. They can handle some of the bending down tasks, making it easier for you to focus on commands and rewards.
Mat or Rug Training
Train your dog on a designated mat or rug. Teach them to perform commands on the mat, which can help keep them in one place during training, reducing the need for bending.
Modify training commands to reduce bending. For example, use "touch" instead of "sit" if your dog can reach a specific target with their nose or paw while standing.
Kneel or Squat
If full bending is difficult, you can kneel or squat, which might be more manageable than bending over completely.
Remember that training a small dog is about creating a positive and effective learning experience for both you and your pet. Be patient, creative, and adaptable, and explore different training methods to find what works best for you and your specific physical limitations.