Activities For Large Blind Dogs

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Introduction

Dogs that are blind are capable of doing everyday activities that seeing dogs can do. They do have some limitations, and it is their owner’s responsibility to keep them safe. With a blind dog halo harness, your dog can be independent when they are outside as long as you stay close and supervise in case they get into a situation that causes them stress or panic. Finding activities that a large blind dog can enjoy is easy. They will enjoy spending time with their owner and using their brain and other senses. Be sure to research activities before jumping in. 

Daily Walks

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Leash
Collar
Treats
Halo Vest (optional)
Activity description

Taking your large blind dog on daily walks is an excellent way to get in plenty of exercise and bonding time with your dog. They will enjoy the sounds and smells as they use you for their eyes. If your dog is newly blinded, start going on short walks to build their confidence and learn to fully trust you. Bring along treats to encourage your dog as you encounter new situations that they might be unsure of attempting. Be sure to keep your dog close to your side when walking and be aware of your surroundings and any potential threat to your dog. 

Step
1
Plan your route
Walking with a large blind dog is not a difficult activity; however, you do need to spend some time planning your route. Pick routes that are easy for your dog to walk, such as along a sidewalk or in the grass at a park. Avoid areas that have stairs. Also stay away from high traffic areas, your dog may become nervous being near vehicles as they drive by. You want the route you walk to be as peaceful as possible for you and your dog.
Step
2
Be alert
Remember, when you are out walking your large blind dog, you are their eyes and they are trusting you to keep them safe. You do not realize that there are a number of potential hazards for a blind dog when you walk through your neighborhood or local park. There are tripping hazards if walking on uneven ground or stairs. Strange dogs approaching your blind dog can also cause problems; your dog might be defensive or the other dogs aggressive. Stay alert to any possible dangers to your dog while on your daily walks.
Step
3
Offer Encouragement
Your dog might be a little hesitant to go on walks with you when they are not familiar with their surroundings. Build trust with your dog by offering encouragement and treats to keep them moving and feeling secure with you as their leader. Take the time to walk slowly through the neighborhood, stopping often and allowing your dog to sniff around to become familiar with their surroundings.
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Nose Work

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Treats
Scenting Items
Halo Vest
Activity description

Blind dogs will rely heavily on their noses to help them move through the home and yard. There are scent markers that you can purchase and put around your home so your dog can move more freely. Aside from scent markers, you can do nose work with your dog in your house or in the backyard depending on the weather. All you need to have your dog do nose work are treats, scenting items and a halo vest. You will show your dog the item they are to find and then hide the item and have them search for it using their scenting abilities. Since your dog is blind, nose work competitions will be extremely hard, however, they can still have fun at home doing nose work with you.

Step
1
Introduce scent
Dogs have amazing scenting capabilities. For dogs relying on their nose to get around the house, they will be hypersensitive to new smells. When you get ready to do nose work with your blind dog, be sure to introduce one scent at a time. Allow them time to move cautiously through your home or back yard as they search for the scent. Do not introduce scents that are overly strong or might cause a reaction. Dogs can be allergic to some essential oils so do your research before introducing a scent.
Step
2
Sniff and search
Since your dog is large, you will want to put a halo vest on them when they are doing nose work. The halo vest is essentially like a blind person’s white cane; it helps keep them from running into objects. When you release them to search for the scent, stay close by and offer encouragement as they cautiously sniff through their environment. Start with an easy scent and location to boost their confidence and then make the scent harder and harder to locate as the activity progresses.
Step
3
Praise and reward
While you do not want to treat your dog as if they are handicapped, the reality is that they are and they do require more care and encouragement. When your dog is doing nose work, they will expect plenty of encouragement while searching and then be sure to tell them how good they are when they find the right scent. Your dog will thrive on your praise and a few treats as a reward would be a great way to show them that you are proud of them.
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Canine Puzzles

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Puzzle
Treats
Activity description

Blind dogs need to keep all their other senses sharp. Canine puzzle games are wonderful ways to entertain your dog and keep their brain sharp. Puzzle games will range in difficulty and price depending on how advanced they are and where you buy your puzzle. You can even make your easy puzzle at home. You will want to start your dog with an easy puzzle and then graduate up to more difficult puzzles as your dog gets the hang of them. Expect to keep them engaged for about 30 minutes at a time when they are working a puzzle before they become bored with the activity.  Do not pick puzzles that might be tricky for a blind dog; puzzles that focus on scenting abilities will be the best for a blind dog.

Step
1
Introduce the puzzle
Blind dogs will use their nose to become familiar with new items. Allow them to thoroughly sniff the puzzle before filling with treats. You want them to be comfortable with the puzzle so they try to solve it to get the treat. If there are doors or other moving parts, move them so your dog can hear the sound before treats are added. This shows them that you are okay with the sounds and they should also be.
Step
2
Introduce the treat
Special puzzles deserve a special treat that your dog loves. Pick a treat that has a strong smell and is tasty, such as liver treats. Rub the treat on your hands and let your dog sniff your hands. Once they have smelled your hands, give them a small taste of the treat. This will make them more willing to search for the reward in the puzzle.
Step
3
Fill puzzle and enjoy
Put the treats into the puzzle and let your dog start trying to figure out how to find the reward. The first time they do the puzzle; they may become frustrated and want to give up. Keep encouraging them and if possible, help them with the first treat if the puzzle has multiple treats.
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More Fun Ideas...

Wagon Rides

Even large blind dogs need pampering and what better way than to load them up into a pull along wagon and go for a walk. Start by going for short rides so your dog becomes used to the motion of the wagon. Be sure to keep them secure while riding in the wagon so they do not attempt to jump out and possibly injure themselves. 

Doggy Popsicles

Popsicles are an excellent treat for any dog, especially on hot days. You can easily make your own yummy frozen treats for your dog to enjoy. Simply fill an ice cube tray with low sodium chicken or beef broth and add a few veggies or treats into the broth. Freeze and then wrap into a freezer bag to keep fresh.


Conclusion

Large dogs that are also blind can live a relatively normal life with a few adjustments. They are still handicapped and do require special attention, but you can also help them enjoy life and spend time bonding and making memories. Before attempting any activity, be sure to research them and be ready to help your dog learn how to work around their blindness.