How to care for blind dogs: How to care for blind pets
How to care for blind pets
Tips for helping blind dogs and cats flourish
Corey, who was rescued from a puppy mill in 2014, doesn’t let blindness prevent him from enjoying his backyard.
AP Images for The HSUS
Whether you’re adopting a blind pet or your longtime companion is losing their vision, you want to do what’s best for your vision-impaired animal. Follow these tips on helping blind cats and dogs to keep your companion safe and comfortable.
Set blind pets up for success
A pet who has lost or is losing their vision may feel vulnerable and anxious, so it’s important to create a consistent routine and a safe, comfortable home environment.
After adopting a blind cat or dog, keep them confined to a comfortable, small area to help them become more confident before slowly introducing them to the rest of the house. If your pet seems uncomfortable or confused, guide them back to their safe zone.
Before you give your pup or kitty free rein, ensure you’re setting them up for success. Even pets who were born with low or no vision will benefit from these safety measures.
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How to care for a blind cat or dog in the home
- Stick to a schedule: Consistent feeding times, walks, etc., will help your pet know what to expect.
- Try to eliminate potential hazards: Cover sharp corners on furniture, block off stairs, keep furniture in the safe place (or if you do move it, move only one piece at a time), avoid clutter or other unexpected obstacles.
- Use sound cues to help pets navigate and stay comfortable: Try using wind chimes by exterior doors to steer outdoor pets toward thresholds; if your blind pet gets startled by other pets in the house, add a bell to your other pets’ collars; try talking to your pet (or gently shaking their bed) before touching them or waking them from sleep to avoid startling them.
- Incorporate tactile markers around the house: Place textured mats beneath food and water bowls or in front of litter boxes and use carpet runners to guide pets through the house. Add throw rugs near furniture to help pets remember where couches and chairs are located.
If your pet loses vision later in life, you can also experiment with a “bumper” or “halo” harness, which helps prevent them from bumping into objects.
How to care for a blind dog who spends time outside
- Remove protruding branches or other yard hazards.
- Add fencing around swimming pools or wildlife ponds.
- Add tactile markers such as mulch, sand or landscaping stones to create safe pathways.
In time, your pet will develop a mental layout of their domain and may learn to safely navigate stairs and other challenges, but it’s good to be cautious—a bad experience can cause injury and erode confidence.
Focus on training
Training is crucial for any newly adopted companion, but it can be especially helpful for blind pets. The training process itself will help build confidence and strengthen the relationship between you and your pet. Plus, a well-trained animal will be more likely to respond and follow your instructions if they’re in danger. For dogs, you can even use a specific verbal cue to warn them of danger while on walks.
Follow these tips to get started:
- Always use positive reinforcement. Never punish, hit or yell at your pet.
- Be consistent. If you have a partner or children who also interact with your pet, make sure you all use the same approach.
- Have patience! Training a new pet won’t happen in a day or even a week. You might have setbacks, but the rewards are worth it.
Keep your blind pet stimulated
Stimulating any pet’s senses is important for mental and physical health, but especially for animals who’ve gone blind later in life. Even your voice can be a form of comfort and enrichment! After adopting a blind dog, introduce them to the neighborhood on walks. These few simple tips will help keep them safe:
- Follow the same path during each walk.
- Use a short, rigid leash so you can more easily guide your pup around obstacles.
- Try using auditory cues when there’s an obstacle in the path.
To keep cats stimulated, try placing perches in front of screened-in windows so they can enjoy the scents and sounds of the outdoors. You can even build a catio to give them a (safe) taste of the outdoors.
For indoor play, provide interactive toys for blind cats and dogs that will allow them to use their other senses. You can even set up scavenger hunts where you hide treats around the house!
Try these toys for blind dogs and cats:
- Sound-making toys
- Scent-tracking games
Tips for living with a blind dog
By Adam Debrowski
- Experiment with daily routines
- Make small changes to your home
- … but don’t change too much
- Signs your dog might be losing their vision
- Why do dogs go blind?
- A little patience goes a long way
You’ve probably seen videos of dogs who needed to have one or more of their legs amputated due to an accident or illness. But then, the moment they’ve healed, they’re running and playing with their four-legged friends as best they can, happy as ever.
They may not be as fast, and they might stumble at times, but they seem just as overjoyed at the thought of playtime as they were when they had all four legs.
This is because dogs, along with most other animals, adapt to disabilities extremely well. And this same resilience can also apply to dogs who lose (or are born without) part or all of their vision.
Vision loss is a natural part of many dogs’ lives. While most dogs with vision loss experience it gradually as they get older, others may experience low vision or even blindness from an early age. Some dogs are even born blind.
But vision loss doesn’t have to stop your dog from enjoying life. Their habits may change, but you might be surprised at how well they get along — especially when you lend a helping hand.
“Dogs don’t rely on sight nearly as much as we do,” says Dr. Matthew Belden, a veterinarian in the small West Texas town of Ballinger. “Even after 38 years in practice, I am often amazed at how quickly pets adapt to their condition.”
Dog owners can help their pets get the most out of life with low vision or even blindness. In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of caring for a blind or vision-impaired dog, including:
Updating daily routines
Creating a safe and comfortable environment
Which changes to make
Which changes to avoid
Finding fun, creative ways to help your dog
We’ll also cover:
Some of the signs of vision loss in dogs
Why dogs lose their vision
How dogs adapt and how you can encourage them
Experiment with daily routines
Some of the simplest, most rewarding ways you can help your dog involve small lifestyle tweaks. You won’t need to spend any money, and your dog can enjoy the benefits from day one.
With a little practice and patience, small changes can play a big role in helping your dog feel more comfortable with less vision.
When you walk into a room, approach your dog slowly and let them sniff your hand or quietly say their name to gently let them know you’re there.
Be careful not to startle them when they’re resting. A fully sighted dog can see who or what is waking them up, but a dog with vision loss may get scared or defensive if they’re jarred awake.
Try incorporating new spoken commands or noise cues into their daily life. You can “be their eyes” by helping them learn that a certain word or noise means they’re going the wrong way or about to bump into something.
Make small changes to your home
When it comes to your dog’s safety and your peace of mind, a few minor home adjustments can pay off in a big way. Consider making some of the following changes for your vision-impaired pet:
Block potential hazard areas
Dogs with poor vision have a harder time knowing when they’re putting themselves at risk. If you have stairs or a pool, you need to block these areas off so your dog doesn’t accidentally fall.
You may also want to block off certain high-traffic areas of your home, especially if you have a small dog. They may like to lay in a small kitchen or workout area, but these rooms can be problematic if your dog can’t detect your movement as well.
Cover sharp corners and edges
Walk around your home and take note of anything sharp at or near your dog’s eye level. Objects or furniture with sharp corners should be moved or covered with soft coverings or protective bumpers.
Soft corner guards, which are designed for babies but can be just as useful for dogs, are available in most supermarkets. You can also buy (or make) edge cushions to line the entire edge length of a fixture.
Lay down scents
Like the smell of fresh cooking that guides you toward the kitchen, scents can be used to guide vision-impaired dogs as well.
“If your pet has difficulty doing something it needs to do, like finding the doggy door, you may be able to help with smell,” Dr. Belden says. “You can mark the door with a special scent and then spend some time helping the dog in and out. They will usually get used to it pretty quickly.”
Experiment with fragrances like the smell of your dog’s favorite treat to nudge them along the right path.
Add texture to the floor
You can also use mats, rugs and other textured floor coverings to help your dog orient themselves in your home. This can be especially helpful around important areas like food and water bowls or the door they use to go outside.
If their food and water bowls are on hard flooring, try placing them on a big rug or doormat in the same spot. If they’re on carpeting, put down a smooth, plastic mat instead. Your dog will feel these textures with their paws and know that they’re close to their food and water.
Experiment with bells and other noise-makers
Bells can help visually impaired dogs know when other people or animals are moving around or approaching them.
To start, try clipping a small bell to your belt or pant leg whenever you’re inside the home. If you have other dogs or cats, clip one to their collars too. The soft jingle of these bells will alert your low-vision or blind dog to the presence of someone or something moving around them and prevent them from getting startled.
And next time you buy your dog a new toy, try one that makes noise. A toy with a bell or squeaker inside can give them a satisfying dose of sound feedback in the absence of eyesight.
Invest in a halo (or make your own)
If your dog bumps into objects a lot, they might benefit from a halo, a special harness with a plastic loop that hovers over their heads. The loop hits objects first and gives them a moment to stop walking in that direction. Over time, most dogs get used to wearing the harness and feel more comfortable walking around.
Name-brand halos can be on the expensive side but may be worth the expense in the long run. Several generic alternatives are also available through popular online retailers.
If you’re feeling handy, there are even video guides to making your own halo.
… but don’t change too much
Dogs rely on their senses of smell, hearing and touch to a greater degree than humans do, and even more so when their vision is poor.
In many cases, a dog that seems blind can still see some light and shapes. You might notice these dogs turning their head when a light comes on or following you with their eyes when you walk past them.
Dogs with low vision will usually continue to use even the faintest sense of sight to identify the outlines of objects. Completely blind dogs will use the familiar scent of a sofa or texture of the floor to figure out which part of the home they’re in.
Before you move anything, take the following factors into consideration:
Like people, dogs find great comfort in knowing where to go when they’re hungry or thirsty. Try not to move their food and water bowls, unless you really need to, as this can make them feel anxious.
The same is true for furniture and other familiar fixtures they’re used to living with. When a dog has vision loss, it uses familiar objects like a couch, table or chair to know where they are. Moving or removing these objects can make them feel lost in their own home.
Don’t feel like you have to separate your dog from other pets in the home unless you have reason to. “Other pets can actually help. They leave scent trails wherever they go that a blind pet can follow,” Dr. Belden says.
Create a relaxing retreat
When dogs lose their vision, they tend to move around less and spend more time in one familiar area. You might notice them sitting in their favorite spot more often, enjoying the sounds and smells of the home.
Designating one area for rest and relaxation means they’ll always have a “happy place” to fall back on whenever they’re feeling tired or stressed out.
Place their favorite bed, blanket and toys in an area they feel comfortable. If they drag their stuff around a lot, try to place everything back in the same spot each morning and before bed at night.
Leave the TV on
Modern humans tend to watch a lot of television. Dogs don’t exactly watch TV like people do, but they do get used to the sound of it being on.
If it’s normal for you to keep the TV on for long periods of time, consider leaving it on throughout the day, even and especially when you leave the home. It will make them feel more comfortable and may stop them from getting confused or disoriented by other sounds.
The noise from a TV can also help them figure out which part of the home they’re in.
If you don’t have cable, you can stream countless multi-hour live video feeds of nature scenes for free on YouTube. Cornell University’s Cornell Labs, for example, stream a 24-hour bird camera, complete with audio ambience for your pet.
Keep the conversation going
There’s a good chance you already talk to your dog. There’s even evidence that dogs like the high-pitched “dog-speak” people tend to use around them.
When they lose part or all of their vision and rely more on sound, dog-speak can become even more important. Talk to your dog as much as possible, and they’ll take comfort in hearing the sound of your voice.
Keep playing and going for walks
When a dog loses their vision, it might feel necessary to incorporate fewer walks and less playtime into their lives.
However, most dogs still benefit greatly from physical activity — even if it has to be a little slower. These activities can work wonders for their bodies and minds.
On walks, try to keep your dog on a shorter leash and stay mindful of where they’re walking. They won’t have the same spatial awareness outdoors as they do inside your home, so they’re more likely to bump into trees or mailboxes along the way.
Let your dog set the pace as much as possible, giving them a chance to absorb your neighborhood’s familiar smells and sounds.
Signs your dog might be losing their vision
Vision changes aren’t always easy to recognize in your pets. Dogs tend to deal internally with injuries and disabilities, and then adapt to them, more quickly than humans do.
Most of the time, their natural reaction to vision loss and other physical changes is to accept the changes and adjust their lives accordingly. You may not even notice these changes until you make an unrelated change to your pet’s environment.
“Many owners have blind dogs and don’t know it because the dog is so good at navigating their living space — indoors and outdoors — without the benefit of sight,” Dr. Belden says.
When changes do become noticeable, they can include:
Getting startled easily.
Bumping into furniture and other fixtures, especially any that were recently moved or added to the home.
Taking longer to find a toy or treat (or not noticing it at all) when one is tossed in front of them.
Hesitating to jump on and off of beds or in and out of cars. They might also be leery of using the stairs, in either direction.
Hesitating to go outside at night, especially when an outdoor light isn’t on.
Squinting or wincing in bright light, due to increased light sensitivity.
Squinting or wincing as they walk, out of fear of bumping into objects.
If you think your dog might be losing their vision, scheduling an appointment with a veterinarian is the first step. Any changes in a dog’s behavior should be assessed to rule out serious conditions that need immediate care.
If your dog is in pain or you notice visible symptoms like redness, inflammation, swelling, discharge or anything else that concerns you, schedule a vet appointment as soon as possible.
After your vet visit
If a vet does find that your dog is losing their vision, it can make you feel sad for your pet. This is a very normal and understandable feeling to have for a beloved pet facing a difficult change.
However, it should offer a small bit of comfort to know that, from your dog’s perspective, reduced eyesight is simply something they will or have accepted and are quickly adapting to — if they haven’t completely adapted already.
Vision loss becomes a part of their normal, everyday life. With a little help from their owners, they can be just as happy without sight as they were with it.
“While sudden vision loss does happen because of trauma and disease, it is usually a slow process, allowing the dog to compensate with other senses,” Dr. Belden says, noting that blindness alone is not a reason for euthanization.
“The main thing to keep in mind is that the pet isn’t suffering nearly as much as we would, under the circumstances.”
Why do dogs go blind?
Dogs can lose their vision for many of the same reasons humans do. Some cause a gradual loss of vision, while others result in near-immediate blindness.
“Blindness is quite common in elderly dogs,” Dr. Belden says. “Cataracts are the number one cause. Corneal scarring from trauma or chronic dry eye is probably second, followed by glaucoma, detached retinas and neoplastic disease.”
Different dog breeds can have different risks of developing cataracts at some point in their lives.
One study of 72 breeds saw noticeable swings in how often dogs developed cataracts after age 7:
Fewer than 10% of Great Danes, boxers, collies and Siberian huskies
Around 15% of border collies, Rottweilers and miniature poodles
More than 25% of Portugese water dogs, field spaniels, flat-coated retrievers and Havanese
The study also shows how some breeds can be predisposed to cataracts earlier in life. In this case, about three of every 20 English mastiffs, silky terriers and bearded collies examined had developed cataracts before they turned five years old.
Canine glaucoma, when high pressure inside the eye causes vision loss, also occurs more often in certain breeds. Jack Russell terriers, chow chows, basset hounds and Shar-Peis are among the most common dogs seen with primary glaucoma.
Surgery could restore a dog’s vision, but it isn’t for every dog (or owner). Success rates are high — as high as 85-90% for cataracts — but they can vary depending on breed, age and other factors.
Surgery can also be expensive and too heavy a financial burden for many. For this reason, many owners choose to instead help their pets adapt to life with cataracts.
Plus, a vet may be able to offer ways outside of surgery to treat your dog’s condition and help them live comfortably.
Veterinarians can also sometimes help slow the progression of other causes of vision loss, such as corneal and retinal damage, to give your dog the best possible eyesight for as long as possible. Early diagnosis of sight-threatening conditions offers one more reason to schedule regular check-ups with your vet.
Talk to your vet about any other conditions your dog has, even if they don’t immediately affect their eyes. Diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) and certain infections — along with other issues — can cause eyesight problems down the road, especially without proper management.
A little patience goes a long way
Living with a visually impaired dog can be just as rewarding as living with one who has full vision. But you might still feel frustrated from time to time, especially when you and your dog are still getting the hang of new habits.
During the transition, it’s important to be patient with your pet and give them the love and support they need to feel comfortable. Over time, new habits will become second nature for everyone involved, no matter how many legs they walk on.
Dr. Belden gives concerned owners comfort in knowing that our canine companions don’t feel sorry for themselves like humans do; nor do they face the same psychological hurdles adapting to a disability.
“I have to remind owners that their dog doesn’t read, drive, watch television or do needlepoint. They don’t need to see to be happy.”
Vision loss in dogs — Symptoms and management. American Kennel Club. November 2017.
Tips for owners. Blind Dog Rescue Alliance. Accessed March 2021.
Caring for a blind pet. American Humane Society. January 2017.
Living with a blind dog: Ways to keep your canine companion safe. American Kennel Club. July 2018.
5 signs your dog’s vision is worsening. Modern Dog Magazine. Accessed March 2021.
Cataract surgery. Michigan State University Veterinary Medical Center. Accessed March 2021.
Age-related cataract in dogs: a biomarker for life span and its relation to body size. Department of Pathology, University of Washington. February 2010.
Clinical considerations with glaucoma. College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois. August 2013.
Page published on Monday, March 29, 2021
Rules for keeping a dog without sight
A blind dog requires a lot of attention and care from the owner, but since such an ailment has caught your pet, you need to know the basic rules for keeping and caring for a pet with a similar ailment.
It happens that dogs are born blind, but most often the dog loses his sight with age, or as a result of some disease.
If you begin to notice that your pet is disorientated in space, and, apparently, is losing his sight, then you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- General information
- Blind dog: how to live with it?
A blind dog is a dog that has lost sight in both eyes at the same time. If such a misfortune happened, then it is necessary to help the animal adapt to a new life, and provide special care for it.
Over time, your dog will adjust to what he cannot see, but at first he will need your support.
In case of loss of vision, the dog will navigate in space with the help of other senses, which will even improve slightly, as a result of a greater load on them.
The primary organ that will help the dog to navigate in case of vision loss is the sense of smell.
Most of the information a dog receives directly, through smells, therefore, an already developed sense organ will intensify its work, helping the animal to live without sight.
The second most important organ in an animal is hearing. The dog is able to pick up sounds at great distances, therefore, hearing will also allow the dog to navigate in space and receive the necessary information from the “invisible” world.
Blind dog: how to live with it?
Here are some tips for owners whose dogs have lost their sight:
Be very patient, because it may take some time for the animal to begin to navigate independently without vision, and to fully use other senses.
If the process of blindness came on gradually, then such an animal can adapt to life without sight without your help, but if this disease took the animal by surprise (for example, after an injury), then it cannot do without your help and understanding.
If the dog’s eyesight was gradually eroding, then the owners may not even notice that this process took place at all, and they discover this only when, for example, they made a rearrangement or moved to another house, as a result of which the animal lost its orientation and began to stumble to surrounding objects.
Thanks to hearing and smell, the dog can fully adapt to his illness, and the owner can completely forget about the inferiority of his pet.
Do not move furniture, try to maintain a constant arrangement of objects in the house, as a blind dog will move mainly from memory.
Explain to the children about the dog’s illness, and ask them not to throw toys on the dog’s way to the bowl or toilet (if the dog urinates on a diaper or in a tray).
Get into the habit of returning things you have taken. This will avoid injury to the dog.
The dog’s things, such as a tray, bed, bowls, toys, must not be moved to other places.
Try not to lift the dog in your arms, as this can make it very disorienting. Let her walk on her own so she knows where she is.
If the blindness comes on suddenly, you can walk next to the dog for the first time.
If you see that the dog is afraid, or is very disoriented – praise him, caress him, treat him with his favorite treat, show that you are near and around safely.
If necessary, call the dog – use your voice. Touching her, or picking her up, can frighten the animal. When frightened, a blind dog may bite you.
The safety of a blind dog is the task of the owner. Try to create the safest possible environment around her.
To make it safe for a dog who has lost his sight, the following rules are recommended:
– hot batteries in the house must be protected. Also, if there is a pool, it is recommended to put barriers along it. The same applies to any recesses, fireplaces, balconies, and stairs;
– sharp objects that are at the level of the dog must be removed or secured;
– put a collar with a tracking device on the dog, it is also recommended to hang a keychain on the collar indicating that the dog is blind and the owner’s address.
- Organization of the feeding place
An excellent solution would be to fix the bowls in one place so that neither family members nor the dog itself will move them
- Special signals
Signal that you are about to feed the dog. She will associate this sound with eating, and also, organize feeding at the same time
- Walk control
Keep a close eye on the dog during the walk, as he may get lost
If possible, keep him off the leash.
If the dog walks on its own, limit the walking area to it with some kind of barrier.
Make sure that the dog does not crash anywhere and does not fall through on unfamiliar terrain.
- Development of the senses
If a dog has lost its sight, other senses become more sensitive.
Your task is to develop the dog’s hearing and sense of smell as actively as possible. The following actions can help with this:
- – talk to the dog while walking;
- – praise her when she goes in the right direction and avoids obstacles;
- – warn of danger with a special command;
- – let the dog play with toys that contain ringing or squeaking elements;
– hide some treat inside the toy. This puzzle will keep the dog occupied and train the sense of smell;
– take your dog for a walk more often;
- – give your dog warm food so that the flavor of the food is better felt.
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Loss of vision for a dog is a big problem that creates significant discomfort for his daily life. However, the animal is able to adapt to life with this ailment by developing other senses more strongly.
The task of the owner of a blind dog is to support the animal as much as possible and help it adapt to a new life.
How to Help a Visually and/or Hearingly Disabled Dog Lead a Normal Life – Dogfriend Publishers
The story of a dog named Grey, who lost his hearing and sight. Practical advice on training, organizing space and ammunition.
Almost every owner sooner or later faces the fact that his, until recently, cheerful and energetic pet, suddenly begins to grow old and decrepit. Time inexorably leaves its imprints: diseases of the joints, internal organs, as well as decreased vision and hearing. In addition, blindness and deafness can also appear in very young dogs as a result of trauma, illness, poisoning, etc. Also, a dog can be born blind or deaf.
The worst thing is that the dog ceases to be himself, his character can completely change. On walks you cannot call her, at dusk she sees almost nothing at all. She is confused and depressed, and so are you. But there are real ways to help your dog cope with vision and hearing loss, teach him to navigate in space with the help of other senses, in short, improve the quality of life so that the dog can spend the remaining years accompanying you everywhere, as before.
In order to make the examples clearer, I will tell a story about my dog, gray rough collie, who spent the last 4 years of his life with a loss of hearing and vision. And throughout my story I will explain how you can solve this or that problem.
The story of a dog named Grey. Deafness
Gray lived with me for 15 years. He was the perfect city dog: calm, calm, getting along well with dogs, cats, birds and people. I don’t remember his behavior ever causing inconvenience or problems.
The time has come, the dog has grown old. At first, Gray began to stall. Slowly but surely, at the age of 11-12, the rumor gradually faded away. His character changed, he became irritable, withdrawn, sometimes even biting. At that time, I could only surround him with care and treat his condition with understanding.
During the period of loss of vision or hearing, the dog may be overtaken by severe depression . She does not understand what is happening to her, the body ceases to obey, which greatly suppresses her. The reaction of the dog can be completely different: from almost mild symptoms of stress [1, 2], to severe aggression. A dog can hide in a shelter and not leave it for days on end, it can howl or whine, start to dirty the apartment or spoil things. You can’t get angry and scold her. Your task is to reduce stress and rid the dog of depression. Surround her with care and affection. Buy her new toys and treats. Be patient. Reward only good behavior and ignore bad behavior. Sometimes medical intervention may be required, but this is not the first remedy for getting rid of stress.
Finally everything is back to normal. Gray learned to use his sense of smell and sight to compensate for his deafness. I had to help him a little. For example, I used active gesticulation to get his attention on the street. Gray couldn’t hear me. When he was next to me, touched him instead of saying his name.
First of all, a deaf dog must be taught to pay attention to its owner . Because she can’t hear you, the dog should look at you from time to time. To do this, you must become the most interesting object for the dog: take a lot of treats with you, your favorite toys for a walk. Every time the dog comes to you, whether called or not, express stormy joy, treat him or offer a toy . You may need a leash for initial training, but only so that the dog does not run away without hearing your call. Pulling and pulling is strongly discouraged.
Barry Eaton in his book Hear, Hear! ⚠ writes that you can not touch a deaf dog, because. you can frighten her and provoke her to aggression . This is very correct, Gray was not always ready for me to touch him and at first he was nervous until he figured out what was what. But at that moment I had no knowledge of how to handle a deaf dog and improvised.
There are other ways to attract attention: by stomping on the floor of the house, you will create a vibration , in search of the source of which, the dog will pay attention to you; you can blow on a dog; move a piece of furniture next to it; use a flashlight or laser pointer; throw a light object at the dog, such as a crumpled piece of paper, etc.
Domestic difficulties were solved quite simply. When I called Gray to eat, I drove or tapped the bowl on the floor. Water was always in the same place, as were toys and bones. He got used to the gestures quickly, because he already had training experience. While Gray was young, we did a lot of things, incl. and exercises at a distance, so now I didn’t have to rack my brains much.
Since the dog can no longer hear, incl. and suppressing unwanted behavior of the word, it’s good to train her to match your displeased facial expression with the word “no”, you can still wag your finger. These gestures are good to use for minor violations: the dog pulls food from the table, tears up a book, climbs onto the sofa. If the dog is barking, the easiest thing to do is to ignore it, because. any expression of attention to this action encourages the dog to bark more . It is best to distract the dog with a toy and switch attention to a more useful thing. If the dog expresses aggression towards someone, just take him away, distract him and think about the reasons for this behavior.
The story of a dog named Grey.
Blindness overtook Gray at about 13 years of age. The reason is banal – cataract. He was not completely blind: in daylight he did not stumble upon objects, but in the dark he did not orient himself, of course, he did not distinguish small objects and faces. When Gray began to go blind, I was seized by a panic: how to cope with a deaf and blind dog, I did not know at all. In addition, Gray had an even worse depression than the first time. He did not want to stay at home alone and hid in the closet, he was terribly nervous on a walk, howling.
Leave your dog chew toys when you leave home. If she still has her hearing, you can leave the radio or TV on.
The way out was not found immediately, it was more intuitive than conscious. I chose the solution that at that time seemed to me the simplest: while the vision has not completely disappeared, you need to teach touch commands .
I taught very simply: I touched him and then showed him a gesture that he already knew. There were four teams: “let’s go”, “left”, “right” and “stop”. As well as an inviting gesture. The gestures are extremely simple and developed from our daily communication with him. When I started the movement, I touched the back of his head, and then just went forward, sometimes beckoning him with my hand behind me. He saw that I was leaving and followed me. “Right” and “left” meant touching the right and left ear, respectively, and a gesture meant a wave of the hand and a turn of the body to the right and left. When I stopped, I touched his ass, he turned around, saw that I was standing and stopped himself. It was the stop command.
Despite the fact that it is undesirable to touch a dog, including a deaf one, for a blind dog, this will be almost the only solution to the problem, you just need to accustom it to it. When she understands that you can be trusted, she will expect touch in difficult situations and will not be afraid. At home, you should still be more careful: use vibration (stomp) to indicate that you are going; if the dog needs to be awakened, tug on the bedding or blow on the fur. In short, use touch only in certain situations, when the dog knows it will happen .
The time came when Gray stopped seeing and gestures well. Now, following me, he was guided by the smell, he was afraid to go far. But what a walk when a dog walks with his nose buried in his legs, afraid to tear himself away from the owner. Gray and I learned to walk the streets all over again. I had to completely switch to physical contact.
Can be applied to pants or shoes to make it easier for your dog to locate you persistent fragrance . You can use essential oils, herbs, even perfumes. Most importantly, make sure that the scent you use does not cause rejection in the dog.
After a while, Gray realized that I was leading him, began to trust even more and already dared to step aside a little to sniff something. He knew that if I needed to, I would stop him or point him in the right direction.
Communicating with such a dog should not undermine trust even for a second – it will be a collapse. Without finding the owner or his parting words, when the dog hopes for him, stress can develop into the most severe neurosis, and it will become almost impossible to rehabilitate the dog.
Once there was a situation when I realized that the dog was disoriented. Gray got lost in his own backyard at dusk. He walked away about 10 meters and suddenly realized that he was left alone, I did not have time to quickly approach. Gray turned and trotted away from me. I ran after him. He went into the bushes without seeing them, and then I overtook him. Of course, he was delighted and soon calmed down, but the fact that Gray did not orient himself in the courtyard in the dark firmly stuck in my head. But what about being in a foreign place? I imagined that blind people get used to the arrangement of things in the house and are well oriented in space. Then, going out for a walk, I began to bring Gray to all the obstacles that are in the yard. He knew their smell, and in bright light he could distinguish them, but in the dark he could not use the rest of his senses. Gradually, he got used to their location in the dark, and after a while, when a mental map of the courtyard appeared in his head, he no longer panicked and easily found a landmark if he suddenly got lost. In a strange place, we also carefully passed all the obstacles, Gray remembered their smell, their approximate location in space and felt much more relaxed. Of course, he was always in control.
At home, tactile signals can be used: these are ordinary tracks made of a material different from the main floor covering. Your dog will feel the difference with his paw pads. By laying paths to all important points for the dog in the house, you can create a map along which the dog will move without fear of getting lost. If you have a private home, you can do the same in the yard with fresh sawdust, hay, or fine gravel. You can saturate with (various) fragrances in all important places: front doors, places for eating and drinking, bedding, corners and door frames.
Once a friend of mine asked me to help with a blind cat. The cat could not get used to the location of the doors and felt confused when she wanted to get into the corridor. Then we took an old mobile phone , set it to vibrate, set it to vibrate every 15 minutes and put it on the floor in the hallway. After some time, the cat realized that it was necessary to go to vibration and quickly got used to it. In addition, I advised to glue all the legs of the furniture and sharp corners with pieces of electrical tape. She makes a sharp smells , so it warns the cat that there is a dangerous sharp corner or leg nearby. Having stumbled into a corner a couple of times, she diligently avoids those places where it smells of duct tape.
So Gray lived for another 2 years. All this time I did not put a leash on him, he went everywhere with me: to the forest, to the river, to barbecues. He himself got used to the new state in which he found himself, calmed down, quickly figured out what to do. Ignorant people did not guess that in front of them was a deaf and blind dog .
To reduce the chance of injury in an unfamiliar place, you can buy or build your own hoop harness or cane collar. These are devices that do not allow the dog to stumble on an obstacle. Harness-hoop is an ordinary harness made of leather or fabric with a plastic or metal hoop attached to it in front at the level of the dog’s muzzle. As the dog approaches the obstacle, the hoop hits it first, protecting the dog from injury. The dog must be controlled, because. the design can get tangled in the branches of a shrub or catch on a piece of furniture.
Collar cane is designed for the same purpose. Long plastic probes are attached to an ordinary collar, which are 8-10 cm longer than the tip of the dog’s nose. Its disadvantage is that if the obstacle is narrow (post, chair leg, trunk), it will pass between the probes and the dog will stumble upon it. How to make such devices is described in detail in the book by K. Levin “How to live with a blind dog?” ⚠
A blind or deaf dog can and should lead a normal life. And only a loving and caring owner can help her with this.
With a deaf and blind dog, you can play educational and outdoor games, search [5, 6, 7]. Toys for a blind dog are better to choose squeaky and flavored. This will make it easier for her to find them. For the blind, games with the presence of smell are suitable.
In a small article it is impossible to reflect all the nuances of training, I tried to talk about the most common problems and their solutions.
- Olga Kazharskaya. Subtle signs of stress in dogs.
- Clarissa von Reinhardt, Martina Nagel.