Blind dog care and training – transcript

Hi, I'm Beth and I'm a Canine Behaviourist and Training Advisor here at Battersea 

Today we're going to look at how it's best to train a blind dog and how to set up their living space 

Blind dogs might not be able to see but that doesn't affect their ability to or their desire to learn 

Investing time in training your dog whether they are short-sighted, visually impaired or blind will develop a stronger relationship between you and your pet 

Caring for a blind dog isn't that different to caring for a sighted dog but there are a few things that you can do around the home to make sure they are as safe and comfortable as possible 

Training with your dog is a constructive way to keep them active 

With a blind dog it's even more important to teach them commands to help keep them safe 

Commands that your dog know about obstacles and can help them to navigate the world around them 

Let's take a look  

As with any dog bringing a blind dog into your home will require some careful planning 

to ensure that they feel comfortable and safe 

This will help them settle into their new home environment 

Living life at a dog's height comes with lots of hazards especially when they can't see them 

Make sure any sharp edges and corners have protectors on them 

And ensure that anything they might bump into won't cause them harm 

Look out for anything that your blind dog might fall down such as stairs 

It's a good idea to use baby gates at the top of stairs so your dog gets used to where they are 

Bear in mind that home will be completely new to your dog and it might take them a while to learn the layout 

It's a good idea to lead your dog through the house when they come home for the first time 

This will give them the chance to start to familiarise themselves with the surroundings and smells 

You could also lay out a trail of food that your dog can follow to get them used to using their nose throughout their new home 

Consistency is very important for a blind dog 

Once they have learnt where things are like their food and water they will find it easier to return to on their own 

Keeping things as familiar as possible will help them get to grips with their new environment and learn their way around 

Adding different distinctive items that your dog might interact with such as a textured rug can help them identify rooms around the house 

You can also use mats or carpet towels as a different texture to indicate an obstacle such as stairs or an item furniture 

Every animal needs their own space from time to time but it's particularly easy for a blind dog to become overwhelmed 

Create a safe, cosy space that your dog can call their own when they just need some time out 

A soft padded dog bed should work and you can even add familiar smelling blankets to make it even more appealing 

When training any dog you should aim to make it fun and rewarding for both of you 

The best way to do this is with praise and treats but remember to adjust their food intake to avoid overfeeding them 

To begin with keep sessions short and train in a familiar area without distractions 

Clickers which are used to mark the behaviour that we want to see can be particularly beneficial when we're working with blind dogs 

The noise is quick, distinct and consistent 

All of which your blind dog will appreciate 

Take a look at our advice on clicker a training for more information 

Consistency is vital to ensure that you're not confusing 

your dog or frustrating them 

So make sure everybody involved in your dog's training uses the same command for each behaviour 

Without their vision your dog's other senses such as their sense of smell and hearing are even more heightened 

Talking to your dog will reassure them and help them understand where you are in relation to them 

You should always make sure that you talk to your dog before you touch them so they know you're there and you don't scare or startle them 

Blind dogs need walks and play time just like any other dog but they might need a bit of help finding and chasing things 

Try letting your dog sniff the toy before you throw it to help them sniff it out 

Always play in a safe, open area with your dog and give them a chance to explore the space before you start 

Commands are a useful way of letting your dog know that something's about to change 

Whether that be walking speed, direction or another dog or person is about to approach them 

All commands should be distinct and different to help your dog understand what you're asking them or telling them 

Use this command to announce to your dog that you were about to stop walking 

Say the word, stop and wait for your dog to stop too 

Praise reward and when you're ready to carry on give the walk on command 

Before you resume walking give the walk on command gently leading them and praising them as they walk on 

Say hup as you approach a step or curb and step up before your dog does 

Say step as you approach a step down or a curb and step down before your dog does 

Use as you turn right 

Use as you turn left 

Use this to announce the arrival of a new person or dog so that they are aware of their arrival and they can sniff them to investigate 

If you're struggling or feel like you need extra support 

We would recommend getting in touch with a trainer 

If you need advice or help on how to find a trainer then visit our website 

That was our advice on training and caring for your blind dog 

If you'd like to learn more about how to teach your dog The Battersea Way then make sure you hit the subscribe button on our YouTube channel