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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18814
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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Customer Question

Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 7 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

I'm so sorry to hear your dog has gone blind. It is going to take some time for her to adjust but most dogs do adjust quite well. There are some things you will want to do. You will want to put some badding on corners of tables and even wall. Pool noodles or foam pipe insulation work well to help cushion sharp places. Other things can help as well such as carpet runner that are a different length than the other carpets of the house on the main walk ways through the house. The dog can feel the difference and that can help them adjust. Some owners will put a different substrate such as sand or gravel on areas like the driveway and along the fence. This can teach them to stop before they get to a place where a car might be or run into a fence.

I had a dog that was both blind and deaf. She used her sense of smell to guide her around. You can help use her sense of smell too. You can have different scents to help her identify different areas of the house, though some rooms will smell naturally different to her. Humans have distinct scents as well and her nose will become more sensitive. Bedrooms seem to be easier for a dog to identify as will the kitchen.

To help her initially move around, you might use a hot dog and lay a scent trail through the hosue that her nose can follow. Just drag the hot dog along a pathway through the house to leave a trail your dog can follow. Often smelly tasty treats like a hot dog slivers work to help get a dog moving when they first go blind. You use their desire for the treats to get them to move an inch and then two and then further. Make the hot dog slivers paper thin so they don't fill up quickly. Always keep her moving along pathways so she doesn't run into things. Also don't move things around in the house or yard. She'll get used to where all the furniture is as well as other objects.

If you have younger children, you may want to keep Ellie in a smaller area where the children won't be running around or leaving objects out that she might stumble on or run into. Getting a stiff leash or harness with a handle can help you guide your dog around until they realize that you won't let them run into walls, etc. and will guide them safely. They do make a piece of equipment that can help a dog not run into walls. See this here:

There are a lot of sites out there that can help you prepare your house and help your dog adjust to being blind. Training can also help a lot. If she already has obedience training that will be helpful. If not, you will need to do some with her. Start with simple commands like sit, down, stop and then add commands like left, right, step up, step down. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Commands for deaf dogs can be found here:

It is going to be an adjustment but she can still have a very rewarding leash once she gets used to it. My dog was a german shepherd and lived for a few years and not only moved around well but could tell where the fence was and would jump it. When she lost her scent of smell, she became terrified because she couldn't see, hear or smell.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 6 months ago.

Just a quick followup to see how things are going and if you found my response helpful.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 6 months ago.

Was wondering if you have made any progress with her. Is she adjusting to her condition at all?