Tips for Living with a Blind Dog

Tips for Living with a Blind Dog by Paige Varvel, Trainer

It can be challenging when a dog loses sight or if you’re adopting a blind dog into your home. There are many things to take into consideration when making your home a safe place for a pup with impaired or no vision. 

  • Consider investing in a good pair of protective dog goggles (such as Rex Specs) to help protect your dog’s face and hopefully help them feel more confident in maneuvering around spaces. These dog goggles help protect your dog’s eyes from both outdoor elements as well as indoor hazards. 
  • Create a consistent language for the dog to help build trust between them and the handler. Some examples include “step up/ step down” for stairs and curbs, “careful” to let them know they’re about to run into something, “easy” for slow down there are things in your path. These words, along with some others can really increase your bond with your pup as well as increasing their confidence in moving around with you. 
  • If your pup is comfortable around other dogs, having buddies to follow and coexist with can really help with confidence. If you don’t have multiple dogs in your home, finding a dog friend that you can meet up with for walks or outings can help build your pup’s confidence. 
  • It’s very important to keep the paths around the house as much the same as possible so your pup feels like they know where they are in their space. Establishing a good routine also helps them feel like they know when things will happen. Consistency is key. 
  • Don’t panic/get upset when your pup bumps into something. Most of the time it upsets the people way more than the dog and overreacting to it concerns them way more than the actual bump.

Dogs with limited vision or blindness can continue to enjoy a wide variety of activities. My personal dog, Trip, lost his vision completely at age 7, and still participates in sports like Barnhunt, regularly hikes and travels around the country, and enjoys his daily stuffed Kongs and Toppls. With a bit of training and support, our blind dogs can continue to live active, joyful, fulfilled lives!