Parkinson Helper Dogs

Parkinson’s patients suffer from a problem called “freezing.” While walking, their feet will suddenly freeze up. This causes the person to fall. If the dog touches the person’s foot it will “unfreeze” and the person can keep walking. If the person should fall, the dog is there to help them up.  In addition to the tremors and stiffness that Parkinson’s patients experience, they also face a problem called ‘freezing.’ Their feet freeze in place, while the rest of their body keeps moving, causing the person to fall. As a result, some people with Parkinson’s may tend to become sedentary, reluctant to move, and reclusive.  Parkinson’s helper dogs have been trained to identify when a person with Parkinson’s is ‘freezing.’ If the dog touches the person’s foot, it breaks the freeze and the person can continue walking. Medical experts really do not know why this works. In addition to breaking the ‘freeze,’ the dogs are taught to prevent their partners from falling by counterbalancing and helping them regain their footing. If the person would fall, the dog can help the person up.