No matter how it seems or feels right now... your dog's blindness is much harder on you than it is for him/her! Eye sight ranks #3 in importance compared to smell and hearing to your dog.
Our dogs pick up easily on our own feelings. Even though you are feeling sad for your dog, try to talk to him often in a "cheery voice" as if nothing has changed... and try not to "baby" your baby!
If you are bringing a new blind puppy or dog into your home and you have time, provide the dog with something with your scent on it for a few days before bring your dog home.
If you have other pets at home you can get "jingle bells" at any craft store (small pets - a cat collar w/bell) that can be added to the collar of other pets so your blind dogs can easily tell where they are.
Sew 1 or 2 "jingle bells" onto an elastic pony tail band (used for hair) to slip onto your own ankle, or attach bell to shoe laces, so your blind dog can hear where you are walking.
Having a "home base" is helpful as they learn to "map" of the house and yard. Bed, crate, or food bowl makes a good "home base" and if he/she becomes confused can start out again at home base.
Leave a TV or radio playing softly near the pet's bed (or wherever they spend the most time when you are gone) the sound is soothing, and may help prevent excess barking.
If your dog uses a crate - turn it on its side, so that the door opens "up" and you can bungee the door in place. This way your dog doesn't need to worry that the door may only be partially open.
If you have a smaller dog, avoid picking him/her up to "help" them get to food or other areas. They need to learn on their own, and actually become very confused when picked up and set down.
Your dog will learn to "map" home and yard in his mind when ready, but you can also put dog on a short lead and encourage to walk around room to room, and around yard.. using treats if needed.
If your dog hesitates learning to "map" the house, get down on all 4's with him, as this is TREMENDOUS fun for pup and you can slap door, floor, furniture with your key word: Ouch! or whatever words you choose.
Get down on the floor and crawl around at the dog's eye level to find anything that might be dangerous. Do the same in your yard... look for low growing branches etc. that could poke the eyes & trim.
More tips at blinddogs.net
Stolen Dog Reunited With Owner After 7 Years
A dog that was stolen from it's backyard almost 7 years ago has been reunited with it's shocked owners. On the day after Thanksgiving in 2003, Brad and Amy Davis and their three children reported their nine-month old Weimaraner called "Jake" as stolen. The Davis family had gone to have their Christmas pictures taken and were away from their home for no more than 45 minutes. That was enough time, however, for thieves to steal their dog from the backyard, leaving his collar behind.
"He had been a Houdini-like dog in the past," Amy Davis said, "but there was no way he would have been able to get the collar off by himself." Despite offering rewards for his return, the family never received any news or updates about Jake's whereabouts. And after nearly seven years had passed, the Davis family had given up hope of ever finding their dog again. On September 7th, however, Phyllis Arsenault, a recovery specialist from the American Kennel Club's Companion Animal Recovery (AKC CAR), the nation's largest not-for-profit pet recovery service, called the Davises to say Jake had been found as a result of his microchip being scanned at the Estill County Animal Shelter in Ravenna, Kentucky - over 420 miles and 7 hours from their home in Michigan.
The Davises learned that Jake had been dropped off at the shelter by a gentleman who had found him running in the street. "The really strange thing is that when we got the calls, we had just returned from Kentucky and our son's BMX race - we were only about 100 miles away from him!" said Amy. Since his return, Jake has transitioned back into his family quite easily, even making friends with the Davises' new six-month-old puppy.
"When the shelter staff contacted us I was really glad we had the family's updated information in our database and that we were able to reunite them with Jake," said Phyllis Arsenault, the recovery specialist who handled the case. "When I spoke to Brad, he was just ecstatic about his dog's return."
According to the American Kennel Club's National Pet Theft Database, based on customer and media reports, approximately 177 pets have been reported stolen so far in 2010 compared to 162 in 2009 and 71 in 2008. And this case demonstrates the importance of microchip identification in the fight against pet theft.
Photograph courtesy American Kennel Club
by Daphne Reid
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