Understanding Your Dog For Dummies
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Blind dogs can live comfortably. Some sightles canines take quite a while to even recognize the full limitations of their handicap, since vision usually diminishes progressively and isn't a dog's primary sense.

To help your blind dog live happily, take these steps to provide a new map of her living space:

  • Attach short directional word or phrases (such as Sit, Down, Stay, and Come) to daily routines. Verbal cues reassure your dog and help him feel connected to your daily interactions. Your voice will both guide and reassure him.
  • Create landmarks for your dog, keeping daily objects, such as dog bowls and bedding, in the same place. In addition, avoid relocating furniture, TVs, or radios to prevent any disorientation that may result when the dog's mental map is disrupted.
  • Use carpet runners to create a "road" to familiar rooms.
  • Use different scents to map out locations or forbidden areas. For example, you can use scented oils or powders to cue your dog to avoid ledges or locate important places in a room. When you travel, these same scents can comfort and guide him in an otherwise unknown environment.
  • If your dog is distressed at not being able to find you, wear a familiar scent or clip a small bell to your wrist or belt loop.
  • Return objects to where they belong. Things that are left out are opportunities for collisions that may disorient your dog and lead to anxiety or fearfulness.
  • If your dog is an outdoor pet, don't plan major landscape projects.
  • If your dog is disoriented, lead him to a favorite anchoring spot, such as a familiar bed, and pet him calmly until he's settled down.
  • Going up and down stairs is difficult for blind dogs. Install carpeting and chaperone your dog until he feels confident: Hold his midsection gently as you support his weight and/or lead him up each step by luring him with a favorite treat.

The most important tool in dealing with a blind dog is the leash. Think of the leash as giving you the ability to hold your dog's hand. Your dog will feel more secure because he knows where you are. Leashing the dog can be helpful even in the house until he gets adjusted. The dog should certainly be walked on the leash because his owner is now his eyes.

Feeling socially isolated is a problem with blind dogs just as it is with deaf dogs. Most dogs seem reassured if they know where their owners are. A dog that has been free to roam the house may have to be confined at night. Securing your dog next to your bed at night or using a crate is an ideal solution.

Once the dog gets used to the routine and has a mental map of his world, he'll do fine. Many dogs happily go around their homes and live a happy life despite their blindness. In fact, many do it so well that visitors don't even notice that the dog is blind.

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Stanley Coren is best known to the public for his popular books on dogs and on general psychological issues. However, within the scientific world, he’s also a highly respected scientist, a Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
His engaging writing style and his broad knowledge about the behavior of dogs and people have made his books The Intelligence of Dogs, Why We Love the Dogs We Do, What Do Dogs Know?, How to Speak Dog, The Pawprints of History, How Dogs Think, Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses?, and Why Does My Dog Do That? all bestsellers.
Roger Caras, President of the ASPCA, and himself a bestselling author of dog books, noted “Stanley Coren has an incredible gift — the ability to take the most complex matters and make it all seem so simple and clear.” Perhaps this is why Coren was named Writer of the Year by the International Positive Dog Training Association and is a sought-after contributor to a number of national dog and pet magazines, including Pets Magazine, Modern Dog, AnimalSense, Dog and Puppy Basics, and AKC Gazette.
Many professional associations have recognized Coren’s work with service dogs, and he’s received awards from several major police dog organizations, including the California Canine Narcotic Dog Association and the British Columbia Police Canine Association. His work with and knowledge of dogs has often caught the attention of the media, and he’s been the subject of feature articles in People Magazine, USA Today, Time Magazine, Maclean’s, US News & World Report, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and others. His affable manner has also made him a popular guest with the broadcast media, and he’s been featured on numerous television programs, including Oprah, Larry King Live, Dateline, 20/20, Maurie Povich, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose, and the Today Show. He currently hosts the national TV series Good Dog! in Canada.

Sarah Hodgson, president of Simply Sarah Incorporated, has been a trainer of dogs and their people in Westchester, New York, and Southern Connecticut for more than 20 years. She’s the author of eight dog-training books, including Puppies For Dummies, Dog Tricks For Dummies, Puppies Raising & Training Diary For Dummies, Teach Yourself Visually Dog Training, You and Your Puppy (co-authored with James DeBitetto), DogPerfect, 2nd Edition, PuppyPerfect, and Miss Sarah’s Guide to Etiquette for Dogs & Their People. In addition, Sarah has produced two videos, patented a dog training leash (the Teaching Lead), and invented many other products to simplify the shared lives of dogs and people.
Sarah is frequently featured as a dog training specialist on network television, radio, and print media, including The New York Times, NBC, CBS, Animal Planet (Disney syndicate), FOX, CNN, WOR, Hollywood Pets, Parenthood magazine, and others. She has worked with many famous persons’ dogs, including TV personality Katie Couric, actors Richard Gere, Glenn Close, Chazz Palminteri, Chevy Chase, and Lucie Arnaz; business moguls George Soros, Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy Mottola, and Michael Fuchs; and sport greats Bobby Valentine and Alan Houston.
In addition, Sarah is a behavior consultant and education facilitator at the Adopt-A-Dog shelter in Armonk, New York, where she holds training and socialization programs, conditioning each of the dogs within a fully decorated home environment before their formal adoption.

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