Training a blind dog

When training your blind dog, make sure to use positive reinforcement and consistency in your commands and methods.

A clicker provides a blind dog with a consistent sound that he can associate with a positive reward.

Dawn Rehus, a certified pet training instructor, recommends using a clicker for training because it provides the dog with a consistent sound that he can associate with a positive reward. Clicker training promotes catching behavior; when your dog performs a good behavior, mark it with a click and reward him with a small, healthy treat. “Eventually, the dog will offer the behavior on his own,” Rehus explains. “Then you can attach the cue.”

Many of the commands you will teach your blind dog will help him get around your house and yard safely. “I teach ‘watch’ when something is in the dog’s way. They learn to stop when I say that, and feel for something in front of them,” Karen Belfi, president of the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance, explains. “I also teach ‘step up’ and ‘step down’ for stairs and curbs.”

Using simple, clear, and consistent commands will help your dog immensely in the learning process. Consider attending an obedience class with a professional pet trainer. The trainer can guide you and your dog along in the learning process and can be on hand to tackle any questions you might have.

Approaching and greeting a blind dog

For more information

Living with a blind dog (main page)

Prepping your house for a visually impaired dog

Socialization is key

Toys and games for you and your blind dog

Why do dogs go blind?