Thinking about adopting a blind dog

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Thinking about adopting a blind dog

This is a discussion on Thinking about adopting a blind dog within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I am considering adopting a 2 year old Husky that is currently at my local humane society. He is totally blind, I and would like ...

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Old 01-04-2017, 11:24 PM
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Thinking about adopting a blind dog

I am considering adopting a 2 year old Husky that is currently at my local humane society. He is totally blind, I and would like to from others that have experience with blind dogs. I don't have experience with a dog that has had this type of disability, but I am willing to do what it takes to accommodate his needs. I just want to be extra prepared for his homecoming if I am able to adopt him.

I am planning to visit soon and one requirement is that I bring my current dog along in order to make sure that the two seem to get along, which is great, since of course, incompatibility between the two would be a dealbreaker.

I had planned to meet and possibly adopt him last Friday, but when I visited the shelter, another family was in the process of adopting him, and I was turned away. Sadly, the adopters had some problems with him (he actually escaped and was lost for a couple days!), and they subsequently returned him to the shelter. He was already pretty afraid in the shelter setting, and I now figure he is probably even more freaked out after that whole ordeal.

Just hoping someone has some words of wisdom as to how to best integrate him into our home as smoothly as possible. I feel bad that this guy has been juggled around so much and want to provide him with some stability and a steady routine.
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Old 01-05-2017, 02:19 AM
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Hi! My elderly dog went blind and was like that for 2 years before he passed away.

Some things I learned:

Block off stairs, blind dogs can be very fast at finding the edge and tumbling down it before you realize what happened.

Keep the floor clear of obstructions that could trip the dog. I never left stuff laying in the middle of the floor as my old man would run into it or trip over it.

They learn to navigate through the house pretty fast, but if you notice that he is having trouble some people use different textured mats in doorways, or different scented candles or sprays in each room, to help the dog figure out where he is.

If your home is 2 stories and you want him to be able to join you upstairs, you can try marking the top and bottom of the steps with rugs so that he knows he's by them, I'd still block the top off to be on the safe side.

Since he's a Husky I'm going to bet he likes to run, get down on his level and look around, pad or remove anything that looks like it's capable of stabbing him in the eye. Eye injury is a very real problem for blind dogs. Outside I'd use Doggles, dog googles, to protect his eyes if you are going to be walking him where there's a lot of woods, undergrowth, or low branches.

When not in your yard, or home, I'd keep him on leash unless you can find a fenced in field for him to explore.

Look for toys that make noise, or ones that are scented, for him to play with.

Don't baby him, feel free to let him explore the world and just guide him away from hazards so he stays safe.
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:50 PM
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I disagree with scented candles and sprays. A dogs nose is so much more sensitive then ours, I have no doubts my blind girl knew exactly where she was by smell.

I wore a large cat collar with a bell on my ankle for a few months after she had her eyes removed. This allowed her to recognize me and not get startled. She learned to use the bell to find me when she got lost. A big issue is tripping over them or stepping on them. The blind dog won't realize you're coming, or you'll trip and almost land on them and they won't even twitch. Giving them some beds to lay on out of the way helps (if they ever use them).

Since this dog already escaped out the door (and I'm really confused as to how he wasn't caught, it's not like they're particularly good at navigating) I'd put a gate tall enough he can't figure out where it ends by standing by it. Both my one eyed dog and my blind dog are reluctant to jump over things if they can't tell where it ends.

Moko was always on a leash when outside as she was fearless and tried to run up cliffs or go into the woods. She wasn't much of a runner, however. A good stomp on her leash was easy. If he IS a runner I'd invest in a long line at least.

A good chase toy is a hard sided kiddy pool with a ball in it. Moko adored squeaky toys, the squeakier the better. I highly suggest taking the dog to the pet store and letting them pick what they want. Moko had choices I didn't think were very blind friendly but she adored those toys.

Also, if you have a yard, see about making some sort of gravel path or slight small hedges. It makes it easier for the dog to figure out where things are.

If you want to play tug, be careful about your hands. They can easily miss and chomp down on you.

Oh! And a big suggestion is sound for water and food dishes. They say you should get a fresh water fountain but I thought those were too expensive. So I took the smallest air pump I could find in the fish section, added valves and a bubble stone and stuck it in the dish. It bubbles, makes noise, and doesn't cost much.
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Old 01-06-2017, 06:58 AM
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@CannyKant thank you for giving this dog a chance! I'm sure many people would pass him over!

I don't have firsthand experience but I follow a double merle Aussie on FB and Instagram who is both blind and deaf. The owner posts tons of videos of their training sessions. Man, that dog is amazing! It's so cool to see the non-traditional way of training.

Good luck and please keep us posted!
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:08 AM
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I am sure if you went on Google and asked about blind dogs, you would find lots of information on what others do with theirs. There is probably a Facebook Group for them also.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:28 AM
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There is a website on blind dogs. It is full of very helpful information, including stories from people who have blind dogs.

We had a Bichon who want blind at 7 years old. As long as we didn't move our furniture around her was fine. In fact, we had a doggy door leading onto a deck which led to a large back yard. He had no trouble getting through the door and off the deck, with a little training, roaming the yard and then finding his way back to the doggy door, which we had marked with a mat.

He also had no real trouble going for walks with our other dogs. He walked with his nose to the ground.

When he went blind, we were more upset then he. Remember, if he or she is not a working dog, there are few things they can't do blind that they could do with sight. they don't watch TV, read or write.

Rescue the dog. You won't be sorry.
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Old 01-10-2017, 03:42 PM
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Update & Thanks

Thanks for all the replies.I thought I'd update you on this. I ended up not adopting the dog, but it wasn't for lack of trying! I was actually too late (again), but never fear - the humane society updated me on his living situation, and it seems ideal. He was adopted by a family that has 3 huskies already, and one of the other dogs is also blind.

So, while I didn't get to adopt him, it sounds like he is going to a great home.
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