When out and about with your blind dog, you will need to keep a close eye on them as you will be their eyes.
- Check their path for any potential dangers or hazards and issue appropriate commands to help your dog avoid those hazards
- Fit bells to your trouser legs or shoes to help your dog to locate you
- Keep talking to your dog – it doesn’t matter what you are saying, just the sound of your voice will reassure your dog that you are there
- If you are in an open space with plenty of room to run around, your dog may be happy off the lead. However, if your dog is nervous you should keep him/her on an extending lead or a long training lead. This will give them a feeling of more security and their confidence should increase over time. As your dog builds up confidence you could then start to let them off the lead
- If you are in an area with many obstacles and hazards, keep your blind dog on a lead so that you can steer them away from danger
- Consider using some form of eye protection such as Doggles or Optivizor to protect your dog’s eyes from protruding branches etc
Note: if your dog has Glaucoma speak to your vet or a veterinary ophthalmologist, before using the goggle-version of Doggles, as they may cause an increase in ocular pressure. If you choose to use the goggles, make sure to use Doggles ILS (instead of Doggles Originalz) because they have a deeper cup and are therefore more suitable for dogs with protruding or bulging eyes. If in any doubt use open mesh visors/doggles instead
- To help your dog identify and avoid obstacles, you could try a sonar/echo-locating device, such as the BlindSight® unit. Using echo-location to help blind dogs identify objects as they approach them is a very new concept and the new BlindSight® unit has only recently become available to the public. It is a device which hangs around your dog’s neck and emits a sound, above the range of human hearing, which lets the dog know when he/she is nearing an obstacle such as a wall or a piece of furniture. See Jordy Canid Inc’s website for further information
- To prevent pressure on the jugular veins in the neck of a dog who is predisposed to Glaucoma or has already developed this condition, avoid using a lead attached to the dog’s collar and use a harness instead
Note: Repeated tugging on a lead that is attached to a collar will put pressure on the jugular veins, which will increase pressure in the eyes and could therefore lead to a Glaucoma attack
- Blind dogs can feel extremely vulnerable, particularly when they are out for a walk away from their safe, home environment and they can react to the presence of strange dogs and people in a number of ways – including fear or aggression. People not known to your blind dog should be asked to approach calmly and quietly. To help warn strangers that your dog is blind, and so should be approached gently, a number of ranges of harnesses, collars and leads are available with the text “BLIND DOG” or some other appropriate message printed, embroidered or woven into them
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