Dogs, just like people, begin to lose their ability to see well as they grow older. Occasionally blindness results and for those who are facing this situation getting used to living with a blind dog is a challenge as well as a very rewarding experience. Try these tips for help both of you through this transition in your lives together.
Getting Used to Living With a Blind Dog
It will be important to do a few things in your home as getting used to living with a blind dog requires a few safety changes for the dog. Eliminate all the sharp corners on furniture where possible, and cover with padding those you cannot. Avoid moving furniture once your dog has become familiar with the location of these things. Always keep the floor clear of kid’s toys and other items he may trip over.
It is best for your dog if you do not baby him by picking him up or leading him on a leash to his dinner and water bowls. He has a good sense of smell and will find these items just fine. He needs to learn how to navigate through the home without all the help and he will do so. Remember, your dog may have lost the ability to see but all his other senses are intact, and will actually develop to a higher level as he relies on them for getting around. Try using textured rugs in certain areas so he is able to orient where in the home he is.
If you have other dogs add a bell to their collars so he knows where they are. It’s also a good idea to do this for members of the family too, as explained in an article in BlindDogs.net:
Sew 1 or 2 “jingle bells” onto an elastic pony tail band (used for hair) to slip onto your own ankle, or attach bell to shoe laces, so your blind dog can hear where you are walking.
When getting used to living with a blind dog the use of scents are a great way to mark spots like where doors are located, the top and bottom of steps, and areas he is not allowed to be. To discourage him from going into dangerous locations use a different scent. Always use the same safe and danger scents so he will not become confused.
Always use a harness when taking him outside for doing his business and when taking him to unfamiliar locations. Spend time with your children and friends explaining it is important to not quietly approach the dog and when they do approach the dog have then speak in a friendly tone of voice.. This can startle him and invite a biting reaction. The use of a bandana stating he is blind is a common practice so others know he is not able to see them.
Getting used to living with a blind dog is not for everyone but for those who do so they will find the experience very rewarding and so will your dog.
Have you owned a blind dog? Please relate your experiences and advice.