As I mentioned before (on this post), memory has an important role as a means of supplementing impaired vision. Dogs who lost their sight develop memory skill and take on an excellent memory.
Blind dogs can act smoothly in a familiar place like home because they remember the room layout and follow the map in their head. When coming in a new place, they gather information by making use of their senses of hearing, smell and touch, and act with comparing their memories, imaging the environment and anticipating the situation.
So routine procedure and fixed arrangement of objects (such as furniture) can help a blind dog act and live safely in peace. That is to say, “set pattern” can contribute to a blind dog’s feeling of safety and relaxation.
I recommend to set up “Aid Station” for your blind dog in your home. The Aid Station is the place to provide essentials for a blind dog’s health and peace of mind.
How to set up Aid Station for a blind dog
- Water bowl – providing water
- Crate – providing a secure place to rest
- Litter box and/or pee pad – providing a spot to pee and poo
The way to set up
The equipments lay together, side by side, at where the blind dog can access easily and use with comfort. It’s very important to place the equipments in the same order anytime, anywhere.
What the benefit is
Once a blind dog memorize the order of the equipments of her Aid Station, if she can track down only any of the equipments, she can find others easily.
When you have to take your blind dog to an unfamiliar place, such as when you go on a trip together, when you leave her with your friend, when you move, when your foster blind dog moves to forever home and so on, you can help to reduce her anxiety by providing the same “set pattern (Aid Station)” as usual to her.
When you leave your blind dog with your friend, or when you bring your foster blind dog to forever home, you should ask them for setting up Aid Station for her with the equipments that your dog always use and the photo of her Aid Station in your home to let them know how and like where to set up.
When your blind dog feel anxiety, such as when something scary happen, when she is in novel environment and so on, she can spend time only at Aid Station. And when she becomes able to have an curiosity about the environment and an adventurous spirit, she can voluntarily extend the range of her activities. Starting from Aid Station, a blind dog explores novel place, scans the room layout and creates new map in her head.
This support is very simple but very helpful for a blind dog! 🙂
If you’d like to know about how to teach your blind dog to go into the crate, please see this post.
What a wonderful idea. I love that you can make it portable, and as long as you put things down the same way, the dog can have comfort in a new environment. I think this would be a nice idea for lots of sighted dogs as well. Thanks for writing about this.
Eileen, Thank you! I think so, too.
Great post! I can see how setting up a routine like this would be very helpful for a blind dog, especially when traveling.
Thank you Mary! 🙂