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Last Update: 3/13/06


Tasks such as operating switches or doors.
Though I can use my hands, it can be defficult when I am in wheelchair.
If there is a slope or small step before the door, I can't operate both my wheelchair and the door at once,
but now I don't have to wait someone for help, I have Nicholas by myside.

[pic]Tugging the strap to close door
Helps heavy door
[Pic]Opening door by tugging leash on handle
Opens door with a spare leash

[pic]pushing down the door handle with a paw
Skillfull paws

* Various Doors *

Above, left: Closing door by pulling a strap
(at the apartment I stayed in Tucson)
Above, right, top: Opening door by pulling a strap Above, right, bottom: Operating door handle with his paw
(both at a hospital, in Tucson)
Of course he can use his paws or nose to push door to close, though there is no picture of it.

[pic]Flips the light switch up with teeth
Turns the light on with his mouth

[pic]Flips the switch down with paw
Turns the light off with his paw

[pic]Turns the ceiling light on by pulling the string
Only once, but he pulled too hard and broke the string

* Various Switches *

Above, left: Using his mouth to flip the switch up
Above, right: Then using his paw to flip the switch down
These are on two different commands, so he can know which is asked to do, and operate two or more switches on the same wall correctly. He can also go to another room to turn the light on or off.
(both at the apartment I stayed in Tucson)

Left: Pulling the tiny string to turn the light on
After we came back to Japan, we had to practice on this common style switches in Japanese style rooms.
(at my parents' house)

* And Buttons *

Pushing with paws is easy for dogs, but finding small "turget" and touching it correctly is harder. We practiced on many strange buttons out in public.

Right: The common door operating button with wheelchair mark
Because it's big enough and designed easy to push for persons with disability, also easy to find and push for dogs. When we were in training, this type switch was a nice stuff for practice.
(at a bank's door in Tucson)

Below, left: Elevator button
Now he is experienced and able to find the button himself without direction. Helpful for my vision, too.
(at a hospital in Tokyo)

Below, right: Another skill to elevator button
When I don't want Nicholas to scratch the wall, or slip on the floor, he pushes buttons by nose, if there are buttons on lower place.
(at a shopping mall in Tokyo)

To tell one button from many other ones to push for a service dog, a laser pointer is most commonly used. Also I control Nicholas' position to stand up to buttons by timing to command, so that I can control height of Nicholas' reach. It makes possible to push the correct button.

[pic]Pushes the big blue button
A "service dog friendly" button

[pic]Stands up and reaches the switch
Find and push the elevator button

[pic]Push the switch with his nose
Also pushes the elevator button by nose

[pic]Pulls my sleeve to put off jacket
Carefully takes the sleeve

* Helping Getting Dressed/Undressed*

When I'm tired or need to get undressed in my wheelchair, he tugs off my jacket or sock. I can't move my arms backward, he helps to pull the sleeve off.
Tugging a cloth off may need strength, but even when he tugs so hard, his teeth never hurt me. If I feel it hurts a little, I don't say it aloud, but he knows and release his mouth.
Yes, he is a live animal, not a machine. An experienced service dog can think and know what the handler is thinking. Because of it, I often feel my dog is really a part of my own body.

Left: Tugging my tight jacket off
(at a hospital in Tokyo)

There are some more tasks he can do with same skills, and some more pictures.
Continues on Next Page

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