Blind Dog Basics: Your Home
Make your home a safe place for your dog. This applies to all dogs, but you might need to take extra precautions with a blind dog.
All dogs should be kept away from toxic substances. Keep chemicals and medications out of reach. Keep all food in a safe location, while the food may be harmless, the packaging may be deadly. Use trash bins with a locking mechanism. Research safe houseplants and remove any that are toxic to dogs. Close your toilet lid to keep your dog from potentially drinking dangerous chemicals. Use non-toxic alternatives to anti-freeze and ice melt or restrict access to the area you use it on. Install childproof locks and gates where necessary.
Other dangers include wires, cords, heavy objects, sharp objects, and breakable objects. Use covers for wires to keep your dog from chewing on them. Tie up cords that your dog may become tangled in, especially blinds. Look for objects that may be knocked over that could injure your dog, like heavy or fragile décor and countertop appliances.
Blind dogs will bump into things when walking around their homes for the first time. Reduce injury by covering corners with foam or bubble wrap.
A good way to check if your home is safe is to get down to your dog’s level and look at your home from their perspective. You may spot hazards that you wouldn’t normally find.
Once your home is safe, your dog will need to learn the layout.
Making a Map
Your dog will need to create a mental map of their new home. They will bump into things, but they primarily use scent and texture to navigate throughout the house. Use different textures in important locations, like where your dog will eat and drink, where they go outside, and where they sleep. Place down rugs or mats with different textures to let your dog know where they are. You can also use scent in addition to texture for the same purpose. Install air fresheners with unique scents in different rooms.
One of the most important things to do for a blind dog is to keep your furniture in the same place. Create a safe and easily traversable layout for your dog. Once they create their mental map of your home, do not move anything. There’s no way for your dog to know that you’ve moved your furniture until they bump into it. Imagine going to sit down in your chair and it’s not there because someone moved it without telling you. Your dog might get an unpleasant surprise if you move their favorite couch.
Allow time for your dog to become accustomed to their new home. Be patient and be sure to give them lots of love and encouragement!