Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My little Fritz, my rescue who has been with me for 4 weeks received the diagnosis today that he is blind due to inflamation in both eyes causing retinal detachment. This is the first time I have ever had a blind dog. As returning him to the resuce home is not an option as we have bonded so well in such a short period, is there any advice out there to help me help him with house training and other stuff. He is getting more and more comfortable and seems very content and knows my voice and responds positively to it. But he will walk into things and scare himself. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I also work a full day and wonder how to keep him safe while I'm gone. My partner has been home with him the last 4 weeks but will be starting a new job soon.
Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,415 Posts
Put a rug with a different material down at the door to go out, and something different for flooring near where his water is. So if you have tile, a carpeted bath mat would work. If you have carpet, then one of those rough entry mats (hemp?).
You can also use air freshener plug ins/flameless candles, in different rooms to help him learn where he is.
Try to take the same route with him to go out. A collar with a leash to take him out, and keep light tension on it to guide him. Collars can work better than harnesses, since they are closer to the head, for directing. Use words like jump, step up, step down to alert him to curbs, steps, etc.
Dogs actually learn how to maneuver blind very well. Their sense of smell seems to become very important.

If surgery (even on just one eye) is an option, ask the rescue if they would help pay for it. They may be able to do a fundraiser specifically for that (ask them), and the amount of donations may surprise you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Also try not to move your furniture around as s/he will learn to map where things are. If something is moved, he can hurt himself. Scents and different textures to differentiate rooms, click your tongue or tap the wall when guiding into new areas to guide him in the right direction. When people come to visit, ensure they greet him as soon as possible as when excited, it will be harder for him to find his way to them. Also ensure you remind every new person, he is blind so they don't scare him. This is also helpful when dealing with vet techs who may not know and could walk him into walls (learned this one the hard way).

There is a fantastic book Living With Blind Dogs that we found quite helpful in the beginning.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
350 Posts
First let me say thank you for rescuing Fritz. I think he hit the jackpot when he walked into your life but then, I bet you are saying the same thing about him. :) As a rescuer I have lived with newly blind dogs and those who had already adjusted to their blindness. The one thing they all have in common is the amazing ability to adapt to their loss of vision and/or their new surroundings. You have already received some great tips but if you would like to learn more, access good reference material and interact with other folks who live with blind dogs, you should consider joining a blind dog support group. There are some good ones out there like http://www.blinddog.info/msgbd/index.php and http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/blinddogs/

Good luck with your baby boy and I wish you both many years of happiness together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,406 Posts
Is he crate trained? That would be my suggestion for keeping him safe when you aren't there - or baby gate him in an area with nothing to run into. Try to keep everything in pretty much the same spot (don't move furniture around and try to put up stuff he might run into. You can also help him know where stuff is by scenting it with essential oils. Good on ya for being dedicated to this little guy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
All great advice. My dog went blind at the age of 5ish and is currently 10, so we have had a lot of time with our little guy. He has gotten along just fine; if you didn't know he was blind, you'd have a hard time figure it out at first.

Something that has really been helpful is that we have a command for him when he is about to run into something. It was actually an accident, because most of my family's reaction to him heading for something is "Oh, Sandy!" and "Watch it!" So he's actually learned to stop when we say "oh!" or "watch it" and slowly feel his way around whatever is in front of him. I don't know how you'd really train a dog to do that, other than just do what we did, but with the actually intention of teaching him, and maybe someone else can help. As I said, we did it on accident, and the training was mostly learn from experience for him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,186 Posts
Thank you so, so much for refusing to give up on a blind dog! Dogs do get by just fine blind, better than people do, in fact. It may take a little adjustment, but I think your little guy will be fine.

I remember reading a story about a man who was diagnosed with MS right after his dog went blind. (My husband has MS.) He refused to give up on the dog, because he didn't want to give up on himself. That dog learned to play fetch, tracking the tennis ball by the sound of the bounces against the hardwood floors.

Dogs don't torment themselves like we do. The dog doesn't mourn what he can no longer see, he steps forward with what he can hear and smell. It's something we can really learn from.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top