Just wondering if anyone has any experience w/ blind dogs? My pug was just recently diagnosed w/ a genetic retinal disease and I am just looking for any suggestions that anyone can give. He is only 3 so we have many years ahead of us to perfect these things. I really appreciate anything that anyone can tell me from life experiences.
There are many here with blind dogs - mostly from pigmentary keratitis. They can give you some help. There are also websites for people with dogs who are blind, either congential or acquired blindness.
Viralmd, Cyril (aka Aljac Captain Hook CGC) and Tassie, the rescue chihuahua
We have a blind pug - Tyler. He handles things very well, if you take it slow and give him a lot of verbal cues. He likes me to wear flip flops, as he can follow those, and he handles the yard well because there are raised beds which are made with black RR ties, which give him a contrast to the green grass, and he can even run around the yard. I know that someone, I think Blanche, dots the furniture with lavender oil, so that her blind kids can smell and navigate around furniture. The worst thing for Ty is if someone picks him up and puts him down somewhere - then he has no idea where he is, or what to do. But of course, the best thing for him is having a brother who he follows everywhere, so that he can navigate quite well. You might think about getting another dog who can be a friend and caregiver to some extent. Peg
We have our second blind pug and they do just wonderfully well! The most important things are:
Don't rearrange the furniture often-they literally memorize where things are
Get down to "pug level" and look for hazards. In our case, it was the pointed corners on the raised dog feeding platforms and the things that stick out on the weight machines that one loads weights on. Literally crawl around on hands and knees to find hazards.
Oh yes, and when we painted the hallway, Barney bumped into things for two days. It is my understanding that they REALLY rely on the sense of smell and my guess is that the smell just overpowered his sense of smell.
Cathy, Dino Bambino the Lawless Terrier, Laura-Lovey the Pug Diva and Sparky Boo Boo, the Pug Mutt
And playing together at The Bridge
Bubba Chunk, Gentleman and Scholar
Lucy the Beagledor
Liza, the sweet little bundle of good nature
Barney the Wonderbug
Whompin' Stompin' Walter-A Legend in His Own Mind
Sweet Rascal Joe
I had a terrier who gradually went blind. While her sight was declining, I got her used to verbal cues. Whenever we went up a step or curb, I said "Up", whenever we went down, I said "Down". If there was something in front of her, I said "Careful". I also made sure she was reliable on "stop" and "stay". I also taught "jump up" and "jump down" for getting in and out of a car, or on or off the couch or bed.
When we went up or down a flight of steps, I would give the command for each step. At the top or bottom, I'd say "OK".
It worked very well. She was fine in our home, she knew where all the furniture was. If I moved something, I'd walk her around the new arrangement on her leash and let her sniff it out.
I think I've told the story here how one sleety, stormy winter night we went out for a walk. She refused to walk down our dark driveway. I kept giving her the "go" command, and she refused. So, we turned around and came back in. The next morning I could see that the entire driveway had frozen solid with ice. It's on a hill, and if she hadn't refused to go down, we both would have taken a nasty spill. So, don't assume your blind dog is helpless - all of those other senses kick in and can be very, very acute.
I work with blind children, and one thing I've learned is always to tell them I'm near them if I come upon them in a hallway or outside our school. One girl could always tell when I was near because of how the room key jingled on the lanyard I always wear around my neck. She also could play a mean game of catch and volleyball, as long as she had a sound cue to aim at, or knew from my voice or a handclap where I was standing when I threw the ball back to her.
I know this isn't the news you wanted to hear, but it's not a life-threatening diagnosis, and your dog will still be able to love you and be part of your life.
Otto's mom (also known as Linda)
I can't thank you all enough for all of the info you posted. Each one of you had something great for me to work on doing, and in some cases, not doing (i like that paint tip). I am so glad that I found PV!
I'm guessing that your pug has PRA? I have one blind pug and one who's well on her way. They both do just fine. Pete learned my house in 24 hours and learned the backyard in 48. I do scent the legs of any furniture that might get moved--diningroom chairs that don't get pushed back in, but I'm not sure Pete even needs that anymore. I got alot of good information on a website called blinddogs or blinddogsinfo--I can't remember which, but there is tons of help out there.
Personally, I think the blindness bothers humans alot more than it seems to bother my guys. Pete occasionally gets turned around in the yard and can't figure out where he is--generally he reorients fairly quickly and if he doesn't, I send my BC cross out to get him--she leads him back to my sidewalk.
All the advise given is good...I have 3 blind pugs and I do agree, go to http://www.blinddogs.com/ The support there is incredible!! I learned SO much from them before I adopted my first blind pug!
Here are some sites to help you...
Living with Blind Dogs by Caroline Levine
Here is a picture of my first blind boy with his Halo (which is like a angel vest, but made by someone different...)
There is a LOT of info out there, however, one thing that I learned on my own...if you are outside and trying to call them to you, project your voice toward the ground. If you don't it can echo off of things and confuse them. We had a garage as one "side" of our fenced in yard and the echos bouncing off of that really confused them. Also, I will bend over close to the ground and snap my fingers...this usually gets their attention and lets them know exactly where I am.
Lastly, know that being blind does not mean that they must slow down in the least!! Here is a short video of one of my blind boys. This is Cody, who has been blind since shortly after birth (he is a puppymill rescue)...*Nothing* stops him LOL!!
Good luck, and keep us updated!
Janelle and the puzzle: Cinder, Gus, Captain, Heidi, Cody, Stuart, Dimitri, Chase, Rocky, Katy, Oscar...and Willie-the pug/terrier. Forever missing Sorsha, Pugsley, Mei-Li, China Girl, Jake, Myles, Odie, Wilbur, Sherman, Dewey, Mickey, Boogie and Potter...my angels at the Bridge.
Mid Michigan Pug Rescue
We also have a blind male pug, Bubba.
We adopted him three yrs. ago at the age of four from CPR.
He was listed as "special needs" due to his blindness.
He had PK which resulted in complete blindness. Twice daily he has his eye drops of cyclosporin. Never have we had a problem with him getting around. He listens to sounds, our voices, it's amazing!
He is loved to death, very spoiled. Adopting a blind pug was the best thing I have ever done.
Linda~ Bugsy Pug, Millie and Captain Jack our Schnauzers.
Miyaghi~my pug angel, July 27, 2005
Bubba our sweet pug boy, May 18, 2008
Luke, May 8, 2012
Another good tip is to use textures...You can lay something like plastic carpet treads down the middle of a hallway, so that there is uncovered carpet on either side of the tread...but the tread down the middle. Blind dogs quickly learn the texture under their feet means something. In this case, stay on the tread, you won't bump into anything.
Adding to this theme of texture, is to change the texture at turns..for example turning from the hallway into another room, such as a bedroom or the kitchen. A change in texture will signal a blind dog to turn.
This type of accomodation for a blind dog takes very little training, sometimes nothing more than a brief trial and error period on the part of the dog....But some like to use a leash and lead their dog to help them learn what the textures mean.
This is a very effective strategy that can be used in conjunction with just about any other advice or strategy you like.
Oh, and I'm not sure if I recall seeing any mention of seeking a second opinion....if you haven't, it's wise to do that and with a specialist if you havven't already gone that route...I'm assuming this diagnosis came from a specialist, but I'm mentioning it just in case.