Ben – living with a blind dog

Slowly, slowly Ben – and I for that matter- are adjusting to this big change in our everyday life.

We have decided for now not to get Ben’s eyes extracted. We will have to face that when there is no other choice, which means if Ben is suffering, in pain or other medical reasons which might occur.  At the moment, Ben is enjoying his walks in the fields which he is used to since he was a puppy. He is socialising with many of his friends and if I meet people who don’t know that my dog is blind, I let them know and the dogs can enjoy getting to know each other. Occasionally, we have the big bouncy dog running towards us but, so far, there never was a problem. I think, dogs who have grown up in an appropriate, good environment, don’t have problems with Ben’s blindness. Mostly, it is how dog owners react and influence their dog’s behaviour in case the hackles go up. But, as I’ve said,  up until now we only had good experiences outdoors.

Indoors, however, there seem to be more problems. My two girls, Dinah (8) who grew up with Ben, and Molly, her four year old daughter, seem not to be as tolerant as I would have expected. They claim more and more space in the house. At night, when we are in our living room, the girls claim the sofa and chair and growl at him as soon as he wants to come in. The other day, I caught Molly, the bold one, snatching his bone from underneath his nose. Outside, both girls are very protective of him when another dog approaches but, in the house, it’s a different story.

I am not quite sure yet how to react. I take his side, get the bone back but he doesn’t take it back any more. I carry him onto the sofa next to me, but he feels uncomfortable and makes his way back,  after seconds, into the kitchen to his corner, bumping against walls, chairs and cabinets. The behaviour of the two girls seem to have more effect on him than my ‘protecting’ him. So, I decided to just stand back and watch how things are developing. As a human (and a mother) I tend to protect him, give him his way, guide him. Slowly I doubt that this is the right way. Dogs, I think, are quite capable of taking care of themselves in any given situation. Maybe I have complicated the whole matter by interfering too much from my human point of view.

Since I am sending this blog out, I’ve had many helpful responses and most dog-friends assure me that dogs do adjust to their blindness, some of them so much that it is hard to reckognise that they are blind. In Ben’s case it is very slow going. Each dog is different. Ben has become a very timid, insecure, helpless dog. It breaks my heart. I try not to show him my pity but dogs sense whatever you are feeling, don’t they? If only my two bitches would support me more but they seem taking  more and more advantage of their big brother.

If you have any kind of advise, I’d appreciate your comments.

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments

Filed under Cocker Spaniel Glaucoma, Living with a blind dog

5 responses to “Ben – living with a blind dog

  1. I found a suggestion to put jingling bells on other dogs. Then they can’t sneak up on him. Here’s a link, and they have a place to contact them. I would do so and ask what else you can do to ease this transition for all the members of your family.http://www.blinddogrescue.com/aboutblinddogs/blinddogtips.html

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    • skadiwinter

      Thank you. I actually have met another dog owner in the field who is doing that. He has a blind dog and puts bells on the other two. A thought there. I appreciate your comment.

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  2. I feel you… Dogs can be cruel, and it’s heartrending to watch, especially if it happens within your own pack. We’re at a point where our “Alpha” is beginning to slip. She’s turning 10 this year, approaching the first stages of frailty, and I can sense the pack starting to encroach on her “space”. I’m not sure how to handle it… Like you, I try to “defend” her, but it doesn’t seem to work, either. I’ve made sure to keep her in the first spot—she gets her food first, gets treats first, gets attention first, etc.—and call the other dogs (we have seven) on their behavior when they don’t seem to be respecting her, but… Well. Let’s just say I’m looking forward to hearing what other readers have to say here. I’ll also talk to my “house” behaviorist and let you know if she comes back with something interesting.

    Love your blog 🙂
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs

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