Blind dogs learn just as quickly (sometimes faster) as dogs who are not visually impaired. Whether the dog was born blind or a medical issue caused blindness, there are many ways to help your dog adapt. A patient owner who understands how to both manage and train their dog will create an amazing bond.
Training shouldn’t be daunting – clicker training is a perfect way to introduce new cues and words to a visually impaired dog! Some helpful cues to teach your dog include: “Stop”, “Right”, “Left”, “Step”, and more.
- Use a fountain instead of a bowl of water – the noise of the water makes it easy to find.
- Use different lightly scented (pet safe) oils in various rooms so your dog knows which room they are in. Be sure to use the same scents each time to refill them!
- Wrap sharp corners of furniture with bubble wrap or felt to protect them until they are familiar with their surroundings.
- Always walk your dog on a leash! We recommend even doing this in your yard until they know their way around.
- Use different floor textures at the top and bottom of the stairs – if you have carpet, put down some tile squares, and vice versa. Outdoors, you can add mulch to distinguish property lines or a change in terrain.
- Always speak or make a gentle noise before touching your dog so you don’t startle them.
- Use baby gates to create safe barriers.
- Try not to rearrange the furniture unless absolutely necessary. If you do, make sure to acclimate your dog to the changes.
- If your dog likes to make new friends, be sure to inform those new friends that your dog is blind before they interact with them.
- If you have guests over, be sure not to overwhelm your dog. Too many new smells and voices can send your dog into sensory overload. Allow your dog to meet one or two people at a time and then let them go to a quiet area like a crate or quiet room.
Check out these websites provide lots of helpful hints, ophthalmologist listings, and other resources: