BARKS from the Guild May 2015

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a blind dog will also realize that her other senses enable her to achieve a desired outcome. These tricks will enable her to develop her abilities, and (re)build self-confidence. Tactile cues will enable us to communicate with her even if she loses her sense of hearing later on. Keep in mind that the purpose of training a blind dog is to enrich her life, not to make her behave the same way a sighted dog would.

Use Sound Guidance

I use some sounds and words as guidance for my blind dog in order to let her know where she should go or what is going to happen to her, and help her move or do things with ease. For details about how to teach and use sound guidance, see the video Sound Signals for Helping Blind Dog and Blind Dog Training handouts. Also, consider the risk of any new tool and consider whether it is necessary. Many people think that using scents, a pet fountain, a special harness/vest and headgear are helpful to blind dogs. It is commonly recommended that their owners put some scent, like vanilla flavoring or aroma oils, on furniture or other important places in the house but this often just makes things more challenging. Smells can become attached to our fingers, hands, clothes and the dog’s body. They can also diffuse and pool in corners of the room. Since we cannot accurately keep the smell only


where we want it, this strategy can confuse the dog. People assume that dogs use their sense of smell first if they lose their eyesight but in my experience they first rely on their memory. When a blind dog navigates his house, he uses a map in his head. Pet fountains are often perceived as a way for a blind dog to find his water bowl. They are not necessary. A blind dog can find his water bowl without using his sense of hearing. Blind dogs develop a very accurate memory after losing their eyesight. They can memorize house layouts and the location of furniture and places that are important to them. They can find their water bowl if we just put it in the same place every time and make sure it is easily and safely accessible. As mentioned above, special harnesses, vests and headgear are available for blind dogs. Although there can be some advantages, such as the headgear cushioning them if they bump into something, there are also disadvantages. A blind dog uses his muzzle and face to feel his way around. He uses his muzzle or face to measure the height difference between the floor and the steps, as well as to determine the shape of objects. My blind dog Nono finds the entrance of her crate by using her muzzle.You can see how she does this in this video. Harnesses can cause problems for the blind dog as well. If a blind dog becomes dependent on the harness, he may become When assessing behavior problems in blind dogs, consultants should not assume blindness is the reason for the problem

Teaching tricks to a blind dog can help her stay in her safe zone

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015


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