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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Training A Blind GSDs to be Kid Safe

Dalton is 10 years old now and Iíve noticed a few things that make me wonder how well his sight is holding up. In combination with that, a lot of board members that Iíve followed over the years have GSDs getting older. I wonder if you face the same questions I do. This is not my first GSD to become a senior and Iím sure he wonít be my last but I realize the potential of our beloved GSDs loosing some or all of their sight increases with age. I thought it might be a good to discuss blindness and some of the adjustments or training we have to make for this.

I didnít put this in the senior area because younger dogs can also be blind at birth or loose their sight at an early age. Iíd love to hear the experiences and thoughts from people who have dogs of any age.

Hereís the comment from a craigslist ad posted in our rescue section that sparked my curiosity:
Quote:
Quote: He is blind, therefore can not be in a home with small children. He is a wonderful companion, gentle and loving, but due to his blindness, we can't keep him in the house with our baby.
Without judging this person but instead focusing more on the blind GSD can you tell me what you would do? What adjustments would you make? How would you train the dog to be baby or kid safe? Do you think it would just be too big of an adjustment for a blind dog to have a baby added to the household and better for him/her to be re-homed?

Of course, given the title of this post you can tell that Iíd like to see more of a training discussion if possible.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 01:33 PM
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Re: Training A Blind GSDs to be Kid Safe

I'm wondering if the situation is coming from the view of fear for the baby or meaning that the area may be crowded, toys, baby stuff, etc would be too much for a blind dog to maneuver around.
I had a blind dog & wouldn't have rehomed him for anything. I was able to clear the house in the area where he was. As he progressively got "worse" I did that as preventative. Gave him flat, straight areas to walk along (he would walk using the wall for a guide) BTW,this was an older dog.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 01:33 PM
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Re: Training A Blind GSDs to be Kid Safe

First off I'd make sure that anytime the child (children) are out and about around the dog they wear something that makes noise. Even just some simple jingle bells on their shoe laces. That way the dog will hear them coming.

That seems to be the big concern - startling the dog. I make it a habit of sneaking up on my guys while they are sleeping and going 'BOO!' and poking them. Not often but just enough so that they just kinda go "Oh, yeah - it's Mom being stupid again" and ignore me.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 01:42 PM
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Re: Training A Blind GSDs to be Kid Safe

Interesting post. I would think that consistancy would be even more important than ever with a blind dog around. The other senses would become even more important (with an older dog this would be even harder as these would likely be fading as well) but making sure I was more verbal than ever would likely help. I would have to train myself, and others, the importance of making noises in the presence of my dog so as to not 'sneak up on him/her'.

I'd be more apt not to wash the bedding as much as I do now or at least leave a blanket out that has his/her scent hoping that would help his/her comfort. Again, I think the idea of newness would be harder for the dog.

'Do you think it would be just too big of an adjustment for a blind dog to have a baby added to the household...?" I think that would really depend on the dog and how reactive it was. If he/she's blind you can just not tell them the babys there....just kidding. (just had to say that didn't I???)... I tend to think it would be just fine in most cases. Perhaps if you had a more reactive dog than that should be the issue as opposed to wheither or not it is ok to bring a baby on board.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 02:32 PM
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Re: Training A Blind GSDs to be Kid Safe

My sister's OES was blinded by a burgler. She had three children. Thor was fine around the kids, nothing changed. He leanred to adapt to the household as long as my sister didn't rearrange the furniture. BUT her rule was when the kids had their friends over to play, all her dogs, including Thor, had to be confined in a room that was off limits to all children.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Training A Blind GSDs to be Kid Safe

You guys are great! Iíve already found some very helpful tips in your responses! Thank you!

I remember growing up my parents having a dog (poodle not GSD) that went blind. I remember many people commenting that they hadnít even realized the dog was blind. There was no real special treatment given to her as I recall but my mom was always an excellent housekeeper. Our house was always spotless. My mom had a reputation for rearranging the furniture all the time (we still tease her) but she always kept the furniture up against the wall. Nothing in the middle of the rooms. Iím not sure if that was because of the dog or just the way she liked it. I remember this dogís only bad habit was getting into the garbage when there were butter wrappers in there. Even when she was blind she still found those butter wrappers. She was always good with us kids and we werenít very careful with her.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 03:15 PM
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Re: Training A Blind GSDs to be Kid Safe

I have had two older dogs that were near blind and almost completely deaf. That is a challenge, the first one (Doxie) we got a pup when we started noticing the decline in sight and the pup acted as his service dog. When the elder was up and moving around the pup was always at his shoulder. When the elder was sleeping then it was puppy/young dog time to rip and play. My second one if he was sleeping I always walked up to him with really heavy foot steps, we have tile floor and you would be surprised what dogs can feel. In the house he was fine, but out side I was never more than 10 ft from him or he would seem lost.

I think if they have one or the other vision or hearing it isn't as difficult.

I don't have kids.

Val


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Training A Blind GSDs to be Kid Safe

Oops - sorry. Dalton is not yet 10. He is 9 1/2 yo. (No comments about how old I am.)

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Training A Blind GSDs to be Kid Safe

Thanks Val. We must have posted at the same time earlier. I didn't even notice your post until now.

Even if you didn't have kids around your dogs while they were blind there's still a bit of helpful knowledge that a person can take away from that post. Thank you.

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