Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

Helping a Blind Dog

6 Ways to Help Your Blind Dog

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Helping a Blind DogYour dog is blind. You’re on the hunt for the best blind dog info you can find. Good for you! Here are some ways to help your dog, with the most important thing being #1 on the list.

#1 – Accept Your Dog’s Blindness

I know, I am asking a lot. You’re upset. You’re probably thinking about all your dog has lost. Here’s the thing: As far as your dog knows, every other dog in the world goes blind or is blind. Dogs do not regret. It’s part of their charm.

Your dog always leans on you emotionally for how to be in the world and, right now, they are leaning on you more than ever. Lead the way with laughter and praise. Show them, in every way, that life is fine. More than fine!

Frequently I hear from people how depressed their dogs are after blindness then I go see the family. It’s not the dog who is depressed. The dog is confused by the change and confused by their human’s depression. This is a case where “act the way you want your dog to act”  really helps. If you want your dog to be happy, relaxed and accepting of the situation – lead the way by being all those things.

Of course, being well-informed can help accept things so here are books for blind dog care and below are other ideas you can implement right now.

2) Get an Ad-Visor For Your Blind Dog

Both you and your dog will be more relaxed if you’re not worried about your dog bumping into things. A visor, especially for the blind flat-faced dogs, will give your dog an early warning that they are close to something and protect their still sensitive eyes. I selected these because the design is a secure one and allows for the ears.

Dog Baseball Caps

Introduce this slowly with a playful attitude with plenty of treats. Cap on – praise and treats. Cap off – silence and pause. Repeat and your dog will learn to accept it. Sooner or later. Just happily persist. There will be head shaking during this process so only for dogs that are vet-okayed for head shaking.

#3 – Words to the Wise

There are many words you can use to help your dog navigate his new world but the first and most important word of all is “Wait!” meaning stop. Immediately. Right where you are. Teach this on leash and make it a game. You walk a few steps then say “Wait”. Help him wait then praise and laugh and treat. “Wait” is the best thing ever! Use it at all stairs, curbs and doorways. Have your dog on leash – always – when moving around the house for now. Pretty soon you’ll have a dog who “waits” on your word reliably and immediately.

#4 – Sound-Making Toys Help Visually-Impaired Dogs

Toy-loving dogs will benefit from a sound making toy. Find toys that stay where you throw them as much as possible (balls can roll off making it harder for your blind dog to find) and skip things with batteries, unless you use them under strict supervision. Dogs can get very good at orienting toward the sound, as this clip of a blind dog playing fetch demonstrates.

If your dog is a fetch-hund, start playing in an empty hall with you blocking the exit. Toss the toy a little ways away then help your dog find it. Apply a scent as explained below. Dogs can get very adept at this with your help.

#5 – Use Common Scents

Your dog’s nose is working just fine so you can harness that to help them navigate. For a negative marker: try natural deodorant stick or roll on. That will mean warning: Barrier ahead! Dab it on doorways and thresholds at your dog’s nose height. They will quickly learn to “read” what that means. Use small amounts because a dog’s nose is thousands of times better than yours. If you can smell it, it’s more than enough. If you can’t smell it, it’s probably perfect.

Also get a calming extract made for pets. Dab a tiny amount of that on his toys. Then his nose can help him locate things and you can easily “tell” him when a new toy is added to the group.

#6 – Gate Off Risks

Apply scent to all stair areas but put up gates as well.  That way you can really relax when your dog is out and about, secure in the knowledge there will be no tumbling down stairs in your future. Most dogs learn quickly about where the stairs are but, especially when the blindness is new, protecting your dog in this way is good insurance.

Hope this list helps you feel more confident about this situation. Please tell me about your dog below, I’d love to hear your story.

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