When dogs suffer a disability, putting them down no longer needs to be the only option. New developments in assistive devices for animals enable pets to live long, fulfilling lives despite their handicaps. For deaf and blind dogs, there are collars that can help in training and recognition of disability. The key is to be patient and provide extra training to help pets function using their other senses.
Thankful Paws: Collars for Deaf and Blind Dogs
Thankful Paws offers collar covers that slip over the dog's regular collar. They are bright yellow with red lettering that reads "I am a blind (or deaf) dog." If the dogs gets loose, people will know immediately they are dealing with a blind dog and that motions or calling out will not get the dog's attention. The company's website also offers bandannas and coats for dogs to wear.
Gun Dog Supply: Vibration Collars for Deaf Dogs
Gun Dog Supply provides vibrating dog collars. The company began using the collars as a way of keeping hunting dogs active, even after they'd grown old and had lost their hearing. Dogs are trained from an early age to obey hand signals and whistles. But as the Gun Dog Supply website states, "Tone options were also useless on these dogs." Vibration collars offer the ability to communicate without the noise stimulation. However, dogs must be trained to respond to the vibration before it can work.
HandicappedPets.com offers an array of assistive devises for pets, from collars, harnesses, travel crates, wheelchairs and leg splints. According to the founder of the website, Marc C. Robinson, "An elderly, disabled, or injured pet can often live a high quality life for many years if they get the little help that they need." Harness leashes can be beneficial for blind dogs, offering the owner more control and safety over where the pet walks than with regular leashes and collars.
Working with Disabled Dogs
Dogs have a high sense of smell; it's what they mainly rely on to identify their surroundings. Blind dogs can be trained to respond to clickers, a small device held in the hand that emits a noise when pressed. Deaf dogs can be trained to respond to pointers, touch or vibrations. The most important thing to remember is that it takes time and patience and extra training for these dogs. They can still live highly functional lives despite their handicaps.