You’ve followed HRC on Instagram for a while and seen some of our happy recipients speeding along in their wheelchairs. “Wow!” you think, “they make it look so effortless!”. But behind the the scenes and all the glamorous Instafame - there is a process involving patience, hoomans, their pups and LOTS of super yummy snackies.
This guide is for our recipients who will have their wheelchair delivered soon, or who have recently received their wheelchair.
These recommendations have been created through our own experiences, as well as from feedback we have received from our recipients on what works, and what doesn’t.
We’ve helped over 400 pups gain back their mobility, and boy have we learned a thing or two along the way.
Take the time to assemble it properly.
It may look complicated to assemble but it is actually quite easy. All of the tools you'll need to assemble the wheelchair are in the box! Watch this video on how to assemble the wheelchair and this one to learn how to adjust it. Every pup has a different body shape - some have longer legs or a few extra pounds! Take your time to get the right fit. As always, feel free to send us a video and we can help provide fitment tips.
What NOT to do: assume that one-size-fits-all, or rush through the assembly.
Keep it Pawsitive.
Attitude is everything. The goal is for your pup to "make friends" with the wheelchair. It is not uncommon for your pup to be weary of this new *thing* in their space. Before you put them in the wheelchair, toss treats around it, ever so often. They will eventually learn to associate the wheelchair with positive, happy feelings. Always use lots of praise and positive reinforcement when training, too.
What NOT to do: Never force your pup into the wheels, and be mindful of their energy levels. Check in with them to see if they need a rest, or a water break every so often.
Always start off on a non-slippery surface.
Confidence is key here. Building confidence and showing your Pup they have control over their movements is very important. We liken it to driving a standard car up a BIG hill. Nobody enjoys the feeling of helplessness as you roll into the car behind you. You may lose confidence in your abilities or even avoid driving ever again! The same principles apply here. Slowly build up your Pup's confidence in themselves. The best way to do this? Avoid slippery surfaces altogether! If you are indoors, start off on carpet or on a rug. If you are outdoors, start off on the grass.
Generally, our recipients report a higher success rate when they start off on grass. Perhaps there's just something more au naturel about it!
Another option is to get them some booties. We like the Pawz Booties, they are durable and provide foot protection & grip. You can check them out here.
What NOT to do: Let them roll away on their own, or leave them unattended in the wheelchair.
Patience is key.
It's like learning to ride a bike, or drive a car. It takes practice, effort and time. Be patient with your Pup, support them on their mobility journey. Don't be worried if they don't take to their wheels "right away" - some do, but most don't. It is very normal to take up to two and a half weeks for them to really get the hang of it.
Try practicing for an hour a day. Keep the sessions short and happy. Always cheer them on, and bring LOTS of snackies! Don't be discouraged.
What NOT to do: Give up without trying, getting frustrated with them, or expecting your Pup to just start zoomin around the second they get their wheels.
And remember - once you are part of the HRC Family, you're always part of the HRC Family. We have a whole community who can share different experiences - help troubleshoot - provide tips - whatever it is. Don't be afraid to ask.
And as always, if you have a question, send us a DM on our Instagram page: @high_rollers_club_hrc!
Do you have any tips or tricks to share with our community? Comment below!