The Truth About Tools and Equipment for Your Blind Dog
As a blind dog parent you want to do everything in your power to make their life easier and comfortable, and that often involves investing in tools and equipment. However, it’s important to know that not all of these things are helpful, and some can even be harmful. I want to discuss why certain equipment and tools for your blind dog isn’t as helpful as you think.
First on the list is the halo. The halo is essentially a harness with a hoop that sits above or around your dog’s head, potentially preventing them from bumping into things. However, while it looks good on first appearance, it can actually cause your dog a lot of stress. The hoop can be uncomfortable to carry and can restrict their movement, making them even more vulnerable. They have been known to get caught on cupboard door handles, caused panic and upset which could then lead to even less confidence. They are also not safe to use on stairs. It can also cause more damage if your dog attempts to go under or through tight spaces, leading to injury. Instead of using a halo, consider other ways you can help to build their confidence and how else you might help them realise if they might bump into something.
Next, let’s talk about essential oils. It’s common to hear about dog owners dabbing these oils on furniture to help their blind dog navigate more easily through their surroundings. However, before you start doing this, it’s important to know that it can be overpowering, cause headaches, and lead to odd behaviour. It can also confuse your blind dog because it masks real smells, making it harder for them to navigate. Instead of using essential oils, consider setting up pathways with different textures, such as carpet, mats, and smooth surfaces to help your dog understand where they are.
Another tool that isn’t as helpful as you might think is the vibration collar. Some people use these collars to alert their blind dog to stop or turn, but these collars can cause real upset and confusion for a blind (and/or deaf) dog, especially when there has been no training to help the dog understand what it means.
Lastly, using devices or apps that emit sounds to guide your dog should be approached with caution. If your dog is already stressed or anxious, these sounds can cause them to panic or become even more anxious and confused. Additionally, these sounds may not always be reliable or accurate, leading to confusion and misdirection. Instead, focus on training your dog using positive reinforcement and relying on cues such as your voice or touch.
There are many different tools and equipment options out there to help your blind dog navigate their surroundings, but it’s important to know that not all of them are helpful, and some can be harmful. Before investing in any new tools or equipment, do your research and consider the impact it may have on your furry friend. Always put the well-being and comfort of your dog first, and remember that sometimes simple solutions can be the most effective. Ultimately, your dog needs love, patience, and understanding, and with those things, they can navigate their new world with ease.