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How do you raise a blind puppy?

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

I sure hate that I have to post again with another problem.  As if the little birdie we lost, the sick speckled sussex chick, and the coop massacre weren't enough, I now have a 5 month old Lab puppy that has suddenly gone blind.

I don't know why this happened to him.  It could be an adverse reaction to the puppy dip (we are battling fleas and ticks this year like crazy).  I spoke to the vet about him and he said since he just recently saw the pup and knows he was/is in great health, and if there are no signs of illness or injury, that he likely would not be able to tell me anything.  We decided to give it a few days and see how the pup fares before another vet visit.

My question is:  How do you care for a blind dog?  Do they adapt to blindness and still live relatively normal dog lives?  He'd obviously be a house dog and kenneled when outside- but would I be ultimately doing the dog a disservice by trying to raise him this way?

My MIL had a Lab pup that went blind due to allergic reaction to puppy dip, but made a full recovery after about 3 weeks of blindness, so it's possible the pup may regain sight.  I'm just wondering 'what if'...

Any insight would be appreciated.

post #2 of 49

I can't give any advice on how to do it, but I have known people with both blind or deaf animals.  When I lived in Chicago, my neighbor owned a deaf Dalmation who was a wonderful animal and much more well trained than any dogs I've ever had.  I don't think it's a disservice at all--animals are amazingly adaptable!  Hopefully someone can give you some more info.

post #3 of 49

Blind Puppies

So you just got a blind puppy and not sure what to do.... what to expect.... don't know if this little thing will have a happy life......?

Well for the most part a blind puppy is not that much different from a "sighted" puppy.  Most blind puppies are born blind so this is the way the world is to them.  They come into the world depending on their other senses from the very start, and those senses very often become even keener.  So emphasize their other senses of smell, hearing, taste and touch in your training of your puppy.

Housetraining
Most that have housetrained  blind puppies say they are not that much different to  housetrain than a sighted pup.  Alot of people go with crate training  and the wee-wee pads. But if you want to train them to use a doggie door that still can be possible.  You can scent the door or  put a special throw rug at the opening.  If you don't have a doggie door and need to  train your puppy to signal you they need out, you can use your scents and rugs to fix a special area for them to go to.

Toys
Ones  that make noises or have a scent are the best for them to "find". There are alot of toys made now that make all kind of noises from.  There are also toys that wiggle and vibrate for the blind/deaf guys.  For some suggestions please go to our Toys page

Sadly I've heard of puppies are taken away too soon from their mothers and littermates when its found out they're blind. This in turn may cause various problems dealing with socialization, "puppy" biting and not knowing how to play either with another animal or with toys....since puppies learn alot from both their mother and littermates. So for these little guys you may have to act as their littermate/mom and teach them the do's and don'ts and how to's.

Socializing
Socialization is extremely important and shouldn't be avoided but encouraged even more with your blind pup with both other dogs and people. However, special considerations and precautions should be used, since even though you may have a little guy now, what you teach them now will be with them their whole life. 

Don't let dogs or people approach your dog too fast.  Let your dog ease into the situation by letting them smell the persons hand or dog before being touched by them. Some blind dogs can develop "startle" aggression when approached to fast or grabbed/touched by surprise. 

Start from day one talking to your pup. With a blind baby its very important that you vocalize to them.  This will not only help them to find you, but you can  also help them  avoid obstacles.  Examples would be:
STEP-To let them know where the steps are
WATCH -When they are going to Bump something
OK-you got a clear path

Having others talk to your blind pup will also give them security and trust in other people.

Blind dogs do seem to develop separation anxiety more easily than a sighted dog....this maybe more "our" fault than the dogs though.  We tend to want to coddle and pamper a blind pup/dog thinking they can't or shouldn't be left alone.  With a pup you can restrict the area they are in to an exercise pen or to one room when gone and gradually increase the area as the dog becomes more secure and confident.

Touching and massage can be an important tool. Even with dogs that loss their sight later in life, touching and massaging makes them more confident and content. With a puppy it can do the same and also help create a more social pup. 

Alot of people wonder if getting a sighted dog will help their blind dog.  It's really not an easy question to answer, since every dog is different.  It really has more to do with the personalities of each dog as opposed to the ones blindness.  If you think another dog would be good for your situation if possible try to put the dogs together to see how they react together.

If you do have multiple dogs already they can help your blind one.  Its not uncommon to hear of sighted dogs leading, looking out for and guiding the blind ones as if they knew they couldn't see. Many people with multiple dogs find putting bells or noisy tags on the sighted dogs collar helps guide the blind one. 

For Further resources:

Living with Blind Dogs Book by Caroline Levin


                    Good Luck & God Bless:)


Edited by werblessd1s - 6/18/07 at 8:05pm
"Give what you have, for you never know--to someone else it may be better than you can even dare to think." - Henry Wordsworth Longfellow
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"Give what you have, for you never know--to someone else it may be better than you can even dare to think." - Henry Wordsworth Longfellow
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post #4 of 49

My mother had a terrier. Because of her age, she was blind. She lived several years that way. She would "high step" feeling for objects in front of her, and of course my mother never changed the furniture around. She was a very happy dog. I hope this is just a temporary thing for your puppy, but if not....I am sure he can live a long happy life.

Deb
Heavens Door Acres
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Deb
Heavens Door Acres
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post #5 of 49

Hopefully things work themselves out, BUT.....if this is the way it will be, I thought i would tell you about a place i used to go after work many moons ago. There was a dog that lived there at the Inn and it had been hit by a car and lost his vision. He learned his way around everything in the place. He was the coolest dog ever. They do adapt and better than we ever could. So just wait it out and hope for the best. But just know that the dog will adjust if needed.

"Sometimes when we expect the worst, we forget to Hope for the Best"
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"Sometimes when we expect the worst, we forget to Hope for the Best"
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post #6 of 49
Thread Starter 

Oh wow- thanks everyone.  I feel much more confident about raising this guy now.  I've never met a blind dog or cat- or any animal, actually.  I'm praying he regains his sight, but if not, at least I don't have to worry about him getting along okay.
My best dog is this pups mom, so hopefully she'll step up and help her boy out.  This is just great news.  I like the idea of putting bells on the sighted dogs collars- I'll definitely do that.  Two of my dogs (the pup's parents) live inside already, so one more isn't going to hurt anything, and quite possibly will help my pup to learn to live inside.  He's always been an outside dog up 'til now.

Thanks so much.

post #7 of 49

I have a pug mix who is not blind but doesnt see very well.  One of her eyes didnt develop and didnt open all the way.  The other eye doesnt work as well as it should.  All her toys have rattles in them, or they squeek.  I buy the stuffed baby toys, with the rattles. When I throw something for her, I make sure that it hits something, like the wall and makes noise.  That way she knows the direction her toy went.  She has an awesome scense of smell.  That is how she finds things.  If she cant find a toy I have thrown for her, you can hear her nose going, and she always finds it.  I don't move anything, furniture, etc.  Dogs can adapt really well, a lot better than people.  She does great and I wouldnt trade her for the world.
Lori

post #8 of 49

I would just google info on blind dogs. I would also find a different way to battle parasites. See the thread about locating DE. Good luck! smile

*Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are*
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*Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are*
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post #9 of 49
Thread Starter 

Barb- I do have DE and have used it, to no avail this year.  I don't know what it is, but we are completely overrun with fleas.  We have quite a bit of acreage   which makes it difficult to keep the fleas away.  No matter how often the yard is sprayed, any animal passing through from the wooded area brings more into it.

Dipping the dogs is the last thing I opt for, ever.  My dogs are on Frontline Plus, get bathed often (which creates a whole other problem with dry skin), have DE dusted on them, and (the inside dogs) get their feet sprayed with Frontline or Adam's spray before going out to potty.  I can't even keep the fleas off the inside dogs this year.  It's just crazy.

None of the other animals have had a problem with the flea dip (it was puppy strength), which makes me wonder about an allergic reaction.  I honestly don't know what caused it but, I sure hope I didn't do this to the pup.  What an awful feeling.

post #10 of 49

Sounds like a huge pain in the butt. I hope the puppy gets better sad

*Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are*
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*Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are*
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