Living With Blind Dogs

The Fight Or Flight Response

Dogs respond to blindness differently. Some owners witness severe depression within their dogs. Some owners report aggressive behavior changes. And yet, other owners report which they never even suspected that their dogs went blind because nothing changed. Some dogs remain totally unfazed by the situation. Just like humans, dogs may utilize a number of behaviors to help them cope with vision loss. They may utilize multiple behavior at any given time, and they may switch back and forth between behaviors. Typical behaviors your pet dog may display include depression, fear, aggression, and dependence. Since your pet dog cannot understand what is happening, and since we cannot communicate that to him, we are able to only surmise what's going right on through the dog's mind. One animal behaviorist believes that animals perceive physical ailments akin to being attacked by another animal. You will find similarities involving the responses of a sick (or blind) dog, and your pet dog being attacked… so there may be some value in this concept. Dogs have a strong “fight or flight” response. Based on a number of factors, your pet dog may operate and fight challenges (attackers) or he may flee (run from attackers). Neither response is wrong. They are both survival mechanisms and don't have any reflection on a dog's intelligence or “goodness&rdquo.


Fear And Aggression


If indeed, your pet dog responds to blindness as although it was an attacker, he may try to “fight&rdquo ;.If your pet was a dominant, aggressive dog before the blindness, this could be apparent now. Similarly, if your pet was a fearful individual before the blindness, this may possibly manifest itself now as aggression, as fear and aggression are closely linked. Without the capability to identify a genuine attacker, canine may lash out at family members. The dog may snarl, snap and bite other dogs in the household, their owners and family friends. This can be a common reaction. (See “Pack” section for helpful hints.) There is a fine line to handling these situations successfully. On the one hand, aggression is not behavior that you ought to encourage or accept. On one other hand, canine has already been stressed, and fearful. A strong reprimand could serve to escalate the specific situation in to a full-fledged attack. Attempt to minimize whatever situations incite the aggression… other dogs sniffing him, neighboring children visiting. Issue a calm reprimand. Do not pet, cuddle, baby talk or otherwise reward canine following the aggressive behavior. That may only encourage it to be repeated. As you progress into the training program, specific activities is likely to be outlined to help you deal with this particular issue.