Is your dog blind? A dog without sight is prone to injury from bumping into sharp objects, like the corner of a coffee table or the leg of a chair. Fortunately, there's a simple and inexpensive way to help a blind dog by creating the canine equivalent of a blind human's walking stick. A hoop collar or hoop harness will help a blind dog detect objects when he's navigating the home, yard or any other location.
Begin by selecting a leather dog harness that fits the blind dog. The harness is much preferred over a collar because it provides greater stability for the hoop, which will sit in a halo around the front of the dog's head. When using only a collar, the halo tends to dip and twist, rather than remaining parallel to the floor as it should.
Collect your other materials, which can be purchased at home improvement or hardware stores.
Put the harness on the dog and measure from the rear strap (that goes around the dog's torso) to the tip of the dog's nose. Take this measurement, and add 4 inches for a small dog, 5 inches for a medium dog and 6 inches for a large dog. Then, multiply that number by 2. This will be the approximate length of the aluminium strip.
Cut or grind the ends of the aluminium strip into rounded edges. Then, use a metal file to smooth out sharp edges. Finish by using sandpaper to smooth any sharp edges. If the aluminium is not sufficiently smooth, one alternative is to wrap the aluminium strip with duct tape.
Bend the aluminium strip into the proper shape (see photograph). The shape for the aluminium strip can be described as a "c" shape with the ends bent into a 45-degree angle. To determine where to bend the ends, measure the distance between the two straps on the dog's harness--the torso strap and the chest strap. If the distance between the two straps is 6 inches, then you'll measure 6 inches in from each end of the aluminium strip and bend just past that mark. If using a collar in place of a harness, the straight sections will be much shorter--[about 1 inch in length (more or less depending on the thickness of the collar).
Rivet the aluminium strip onto the sides of the leather dog harness. The ends of the aluminium strip should be riveted to the rear strap on either side, with a second rivet placed at the points where the strip crosses the front strap, which goes around the dog's chest. If using a dog collar instead of a harness, you will only place two rivets--one on the left and one on the right side of the collar.
Place the new harness on the blind dog for use as a "walking stick." Until the dog gets accustomed to the hoop collar or hoop harness, it's best to supervise. It can take a few weeks for the dog to get completely comfortable using his new creation.
Using a harness instead of a collar provides stability to the hoop because it's riveted at two points on each side of the dog; the harness also resists twisting, keeping the hoop parallel to the ground.