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Adopting a Blind Dog

I've lurked here off and on and generally found you all to be an awesome resource for all sorts of pet questions.

H and I have a 5 1/2 year old shih tzu who is extremely social. Before I got my new job and we moved, he went to doggy day care and loved to play their ambassador. Since the move, we don't have a similar facility in our area, and he has been terribly mopey and lonely. Dog park trips are not cutting it. So we got permission from our landlord and started looking for another dog.

Found one. His name is Leo and he's 4 years old and seems to be similar in personality (very chill) to our dog, Archie. We visit shelter, see him, spend time, fall in love. He's mostly blind. The way the shelter described him was that he can see shapes and shadows, and with daily eye care will continue to do so for the rest of his life.

 Wednesday night I am taking Archie to meet him, and if they get along Leo will be joining us on the trip home. 

 I would really like to know if any of you have experience with blind dogs and know of ways to make the transition to life with us easier. The shelter said they'd have a couple people help with the introduction since this will be their first blind/sighted dog meet and greet. Also, any advice on potty training a dog with a vision deficiency would be greatly appreciated (former breeder, we get to start from scratch).

And here's the cuteness reward. Leo: (Since I can't seem to make any pics of Archie link correctly.)

Leo's Petfinder Picture 

image Leo lounging on the couch. image Archie as a busy bumblebee last Halloween.

Re: Adopting a Blind Dog

  • MotzieMotzie member
    Fifth Anniversary
    I don't have any advice, but I think it is awesome of you guys to be going down this road. He is adorable!
  • AWW how cute!  I don't have tips for blind dogs specifically, but I'm currently fostering a blind kitten and I fostered a litter of peke puppies (plus their mom!) earlier this year. 

    I don't have any advice other than to take it slow and maybe let him get used to one area of the house before expanding to the rest of it.  

    Here are some tips from my local blind dog rescue: http://www.blinddogrescue.com/aboutblinddogs/blinddogtips.html

    And there's at least one poster here with a blind dog, so hopefully she'll be on her way in to help!

    image
    No amount of education could convince Betty to be nice to possums
  • We stopped tonight and got a baby gate big enough for our kitchen entrance. Right now we're planning to start him out in there (in case he feels the need to mark, tile floor) and then use gates to progressively open up more spaces as he gets comfortable/better with the potty training. 

     Thank you for the link to the blind dog rescue! Their information is being very helpful, like jingling tags for Archie (thankfully he already has those, we'll just need to not let him go commando for a while). 

    I think tomorrow I'm going to go through the apartment at his level and look for hazards/finalize the locations of some things. Hopefully it'll be easier for everyone if we start out tidy and are prepared for as much as possible.

    image Leo lounging on the couch. image Archie as a busy bumblebee last Halloween.
  • I do not have any advice but I wanted to say that you rock!! That is super exciting and awesome.
    Visit The Nest!
  • We fostered a blind cocker spaniel earlier this year.  He had sight at some point in his life, so things like the car and the furniture weren't terribly scary to him.  He got along remarkably well.  Like...98% of the time, you couldn't tell he was blind at all.  He would look right at you, he got the lay of the house within 3 days (including the stairs), and once you put a leash on him, he just charged ahead (like he knew we wouldn't let him bump into things).  He was all sweetness and we just loved him to death.

    We tethered him for his first day with us, just so we could prevent him from running into things, as well as to let him know that we were right there with him and he didn't have to be scared.  He was such a little trooper...he was amazing.

    Good luck with your pup; I hope things go well with the meeting!

  • We're on our second blind dog, and it's really been no big deal.  They're amazingly adaptable!  The only concessions I make to the disability is to bring him down our two front steps to go to the bathroom in the yard (he climbs up - and he's also wicked old, so that's part of it, too!).  I used to try not to move stuff around in the house too much, but now that there's a shitton of baby stuff, that's not as easy.  He does fine.  :) Good luck - I hope they get along great!

    image
    It took 5 failed IUIs and a failed IVF, but our FET worked!
    My pregnancy after Infertility Blog
    Our baby girl was born on April 27, 2011!
  • It sounds like you're totally ready to handle this!  Good luck & keep us posted! Big Smile
    image
    No amount of education could convince Betty to be nice to possums
  • Hi! Glad to hear you're adopting a blind dog! Our Shipoo, Shadow, has basically lost his sight. We had to have his right eye removed last year and he has a nasty cataract in his left eye, so sight is mostly gone. It was hard for him when we moved to our new house, but he eventually figured it out. Shadows freak him out, he feels like he might fall off of them, so he will usually just stop and growl or bark until he figures it out. He has fallen down the stairs (we have a gate now, and I would suggest one for you if you have stairs), because he didn't know they were there. 

    We try to keep things lit for him, and he can figure out where he is going. It didn't take him long to figure out our new house. He has it memorized now and won't run into things unless we move something or he's not paying attention.

    He loves being outside. We put his chain on, and he'll wander around the back yard sniffing and doing his business. I think he follows the flower bed to get back to the porch stairs, then he barks to let us know that he's all done.

     Since we got our other dog (who is 1), Shadow really enjoys playing with him. So it's gotten him up and moving around more. If Shadow can't figure out where he is going, he'll stop and bark until we help him out a bit.  

    Good luck with your new dog!

     

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • BTW I just checked and it's schneider who has a blind dog.  You could page her if you need to!
    image
    No amount of education could convince Betty to be nice to possums
  • Thankfully in our current place he won't have access to stairs...though thinking about it now when we visit either family we may have to take some special precautions. For the moment we're doing a last stage cleaning and I'm going to try scenting corners, doors, and other things that could help him navigate...and try to figure out how to block off the spaces on either side of the refrigerator. 

     They're just big enough to where he could try to start wiggling in, but not large enough for a lot of the things i've considered to block the space. Right now I'm thinking large tied off plastic bags filled with something squishy to give the appearance (to him) of the spaces not being spaces.

    Another thing I'm considering: he has to have a collar and leash to leave the shelter, and I like the idea of him wearing a collar for identification, but I wonder if a harness would be better for actual walking situations.

    Also debating stopping on the way home to give everyone a bath and a little one on one touching time. On the one hand, it might be a little overwhelming, but on the other, they say he loves getting groomed so it might be a good bonding experience. 

    Right now I'm anxious to have everything go well and I think overthinking it a little.  

    image Leo lounging on the couch. image Archie as a busy bumblebee last Halloween.
  • so exciting- keep us posted!
    image
    No amount of education could convince Betty to be nice to possums
  • Hi!  Thank you for considering adopting a blind pup!!  My boy Buddy (below) is a blind wonderdog :)  I travel a lot for work and have only been able to lurk due to my hectic schedule lately, but I would be happy to help you out in any way you need (questions, training ideas, toys, etc.)  Feel free to email me:  ashlee80134 at yahoo dot com

     Good luck!!

    [IMG]http://i43.tinypic.com/al4z7p.jpg[/IMG]
  • You've gotten some good info - if you need another story, I've had one completely blind foster and I currently have a vision impaired foster. Please feel free to email me at bartonhounds AT gmail DOT com
    Move along, nothing to see here.....
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