From Chapter 5 - How Dogs React to Blindness
Think of the dogs you have known over the years. Like
people, dogs are individuals. And because they are
individuals, dogs react to blindness differently. Some
become depressed or aggressive. Some become dependant.
Others exhibit no behavioral changes whatsoever. The
following factors contribute to how well a dog adapts
- The dog's age - is he young and enthusiastic or
is he making this adjustment after spending most
life as a sighted dog?
- His general health - is he fit and capable of learning
new skills or does he have health problems that
will be compounded by blindness?
- The onset of blindness - was it sudden, as with
SARD, or was the dog able to compensate gradually?
- Previous training experiences - is your dog used
to having you work with him or is he a fringe member
- His personality and position
in the pack - is he
a confident, dominant dog; a worried, submissive
or somewhere in between?
In general, dogs that go blind
gradually, early in life, and are not the pack
leaders, make a faster and
easier adjustment to blindness. Older, frail, dominant
dogs, and those that lose their vision suddenly,
can sometimes experience more difficulty. Blind-dog
report that this adjustment can typically take
three to six months. But certainly there are instances
where it has taken longer to adjust. It is possible
to help ease this transition in a number of ways...
An outstanding, comprehensive work that provides
the educational tools necessary to help owners
dogs adapt quickly to vision problems with minimal
stress. Levin's sections on how to train blind dogs
leave no stone unturned. Living With
Blind Dogs provides
a giant ray of hope for blind-dog owners who until
now have had few places to turn for assistance.
In short, this is a valuable resource. I keep a copy
in the exam room to show people that help is available
when the diagnosis is blindness. It provides the
distraught owner with a means of channeling their
grief at the onset. If you are a gullible person
for true stories of canine heroes like I am, you
should read the story of Norman, a Lab blind from
PRA that rescues a drowning person. I agree with
Levin's final words, "Blind dogs can live happy
- Canadian Association of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
I found a wonderful book
- Living with Blind Dogs. It has some extremely useful
suggestions about training
and helping your blind dog, with lots of photographs
to explain and illustrate. It has the seal of approval
from my little blind Basenji guy. A must read for
anyone with a blind dog.
- Dogs With Disabilities
When Ruthie got sick last winter, it was terrible.
I was depressed and in mourning. When I read Living
With Blind Dogs, I felt like I wasn't going crazy,
that other people felt the same way. I put down carpet
runners as suggested in the book, and it was great!
Making her walk on the runners gave her the confidence
to try and walk in public again. Ruthie is doing
so much and all because of this wonderful book. Thank
- Mollie H. with "Ruthie"
Blind Dogs is
stocked at our veterinary hospital. We took it home
with us the night Barney
went blind. I sat up all night reading it. I returned
the next day and bought two more - one for my vet
and one for my niece who is a breeder/trainer. She
comes over weekly and we are training Barney "by
the book". We are constantly re-reading it and
studying it as a guide for Barney. Everyone asks
me, 'How is Barney? Does the book help?' My answer
is always the same, "Thank God for the woman
who wrote that book!" What a joy it has been.
Dot Beers with "Barney"