DESCRIPTION | CONTENTS
EXCERPT | REVIEWS

Living With Blind Dogs: A Resource Book and Training Guide for the Owners of Blind and Low Vision DogsSecond Edition
By Caroline D. Levin RN

ISBN 0-9672253-4-5, Lantern Publications, 1998, 2003
Paperback, 8.5"x11", 188 pp., illustrated, bibliography
$35.90
(including shipping)

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This book is truly great. The text is uplifting and comforting to clients in their time of grieving for their dog’s lost sight. It gives them many positive things they can do to dispel their sense of helplessness.

— Dr. Renee Kaswan DVM

DESCRIPTION:

Living With Blind Dogs, now in its second edition, is the only published resource book on this topic. It embodies helpful hints from dozens of blind-dog owners, as well as years of ophthalmic nursing, veterinary, and dog training experiences. Both the veterinary community and dog owners alike continue to praise this text, in which Levin successfully answers the common question: “What do I do now?”

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CONTENTS:

Chapter 1
DEALING WITH LOSS

Chapter 2
ANATOMY OF THE EYE

Chapter 3
DISEASES THAT CAUSE BLINDNESS

  • Dry Eye Syndrome
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelial Degen.
  • Retinal Dysplasia and Detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Congenital Malformations
  • Parasites, Bacterial, Viral Infections
  • Uveodermatologic Syndrome
  • Sudden, Acquired Retinal Degen. (SARDS)

SARDS Resources

Chapter 4
GENETICS AND BLINDNESS

  • Disorders Carried on a Recessive Gene
  • Disorders Carried on a Dominant Gene

Chapter 5
HOW DOGS REACT TO BLINDNESS

  • The Fight-or-Flight Response
  • Fear and Aggression
  • Depression

Chapter 6
PACK ISSUES AND BEHAVIORIAL CHANGES

  • Blind Dogs and Body Language
  • Separation From the Pack
  • When Dominant Dogs Go Blind
  • When Sub-alpha Dogs Go Blind
  • Adding a Dog to Your Pack —
  • Making a Safe Spot

Chapter 7
TRAINING CONCEPTS

  • Positive Reinforcement
  • Working Through Stress
  • Training Opportunities
  • Choosing Verbal Commands
  • Training Equipment

Chapter 8
NEW SKILLS FOR BLIND DOGS

  • The Go Slowly or Easy
  • The Stop or Wait
  • The Come When Called or Recall
  • Managing Steps and Stairs
  • Teaching the Dog to Use a Ramp
  • Walking a Blind Dog on Leash
  • Teaching the Dog Directional Cues
  • Applying Eye Drops —

Chapter 9
NEGOTIATING THE HOUSE

  • Using Lighting and Contrast
  • Scent Marking
  • Tactile and Auditory Marking
  • Teaching the Dog to Negotiate Pathways
  • Furniture Arrangements
  • Moving to a New Home —

Chapter 10
NEGOTIATING THE YARD

  • Fencing
  • Limiting Access to Dangerous Areas
  • Placing Scent and Tactile Cues Outdoors
  • Doggy-Doors

Chapter 11
NEGOTIATING THE COMMUNITY

  • Providing Auditory Feedback to Your Dog
  • Helping Your Dog Build a Mental Map
  • Meeting New People
  • Meeting New Dogs

Chapter 12
PLAYTIME

Chapter 13
WHITE CANES AND OTHER DEVICES

  • Eye and Head Protection
  • Collar Canes
  • Halos and Hoops

Chapter 14
DOGS BOTH BLIND AND DEAF

  • Tactile Cues
  • The Vibrating Collar
  • Training Dogs Both Blind and Deaf
  • Games and Activities

Chapter 15
DOGS BLIND FROM BIRTH

  • Blind Puppy Behaviors
  • House Training Blind Puppies
  • Socializing Blind Puppies

Chapter 16
VISION AND THE MODERN-DAY DOG

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Companion books and films:

Dogs Diet and Disease
Dogs Diet and Disease


New Skills for Blind Dogs


Talking Toys

Blind Dog Stories
Blind Dog Stories

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AUTHOR'S COMMENTS:

At the veterinary clinic where I worked, we cared for and cured many canine eye problems. There were, however, times when a dog would be diagnosed as irreversibly blind. This was an emotional moment for the dog's owner. Tears were often shed. I realized that both individuals needed help adjusting to blindness. This is why I wrote the book.

My first goal was to help people deal with the sorrow they felt. My second goal was to provide dog owners with an understanding of the physical conditions that cause blindness. And lastly, I wanted to provide blind dogs with new skills that would allow them to enjoy the fullest life possible.

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EXCERPT:

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 to blindness.

  • The dog's age - is he young and enthusiastic or is he making this adjustment after spending most of his 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 of the family?
  • His personality and position in the pack - is he a confident, dominant dog; a worried, submissive dog; 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 owners 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 for you to help ease this transition in a number of ways...

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REVIEWS:

An outstanding, comprehensive work that provides the educational tools necessary to help owners and their 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.

- DOGworld Magazine

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 lives."

- Canadian Association of Veterinary Ophthalmologists Newsletter

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 Newsletter

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 you again!

- Mollie H. with "Ruthie"

Living With 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"

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