Caring for a Blind Dog

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Caring for a Blind Dog
Blind dogs make excellent pets and family members. Most adjust well enough to lead long, happy lives. With a little education and resourcefulness, you can improve the quality of life for a blind dog and establish a fantastic relationship.

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What causes blindness
Complete or partial loss of vision can be present at birth, may be the result of illness or injury, or develop slowly due to old age. Some of the more serious canine eye diseases that lead to blindness include sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), glaucoma, and cataracts.

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Is a blind dog difficult to train
Clicker training is an uncomplicated training technique that utilizes a clicking sound as a reward marker to let the dog know when he successfully learns the skill. This type of training fits in well with a blind dog’s heightened hearing ability. A positive reinforcement approach, such as clicker training, encourages your dog to have fun while learning and also promotes a trusting relationship with you.

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Special accommodations
Help your dog learn the design of your yard and home by leading him around each area on a leash by offering praise and treats. Once he understands the floor plan of your home, don't rearrange the furniture and make sure toys and other obstacles are out of his pathway. Carpet runners are a great technique to help guide your dog safely through different or unfamiliar areas.

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How do I encourage my blind dog to play
Blind dogs enjoy scent games and nose work, which includes any exercise that your dog uses his nose to find an odor or target scent. These games are fun for blind dogs, and they also help to strengthen their self-confidence.

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Are there support groups or organizations?