By Andrea Smith- Freelance Writer
You have done a wonderful thing by rescuing a blind dog. You are sharing a great life together. Here’s the thing: you may not have knowledge of how to introduce them to a new furry pet in the household. Blind dogs are different; their sense of smell is highly developed to compensate for their lack of vision.
There is still hope. A blind dog will find a way to adjust this disability to his environment. The positive connection you build with this animal takes patience and energy to train and socialize them to become well-mannered.
Now the burning question; how do I introduce other pets to my dog blind? One word: slowly. This is done using a baby gate, cage, crate, leash, or harness until you are confident they are comfortable with other. The sighted pet will sense that dog’s special need and will grow protective of it. An unfamiliar animal to your resident pet can be stressful. The new edition to the family enters the home and the old dog’s territorial instincts kick in. This is why the home should be designed in a way that there is no visual contact.
Let’s discuss the steps involved.
1. Put two cages in different areas of the home or the option of one cage and the laundry room. This is important for an anxiety free meeting because the cage is a training tool. The pets, during this time gain comfort and security from the cage. During this period it is crucial that they make no eye contact. They need to communicate through their sense of smell. They will learn this by you putting a toy, tug, or a blanket in their cage. These scent items will be switched from one pet to the other to allow this bond to develop.
2. Let the new guest explore- This step lets him or her to become familiar with the home and its group of humans. The resident dog should be absent and out of danger. The newcomer will be leaving his scent on places. They should be out of the cage for 15-20 minutes, several times a day. This is an adequate time to become acquainted with his surroundings. Then upon entering the cage put the resident dog’s scent items in the cage.
3. Switch the dogs
Now the new pet is isolated to an area and the resident pet is allowed to roam. The first time this happens the dog will investigate the scent left by the new dog until he is convinced this stranger has left. By this time he will be confused and upset and you should comfort him. This quality time is letting him sit on your lap or by your side watching a TV show with the sound of another dog. It must be a recurring routine.
Then comes the close encounter.
1. This meeting should not be on your property. Other places to consider; a ball park, a neighbor’s backyard, or another enclosed area. You should still use the leashes but do not grip it or may provoke aggression. Let the dog run around while the other pet is hidden. Then switch and allow the other pet the same opportunity while the resident is gone. The animals will notice the same scent emitted in the home. They are ready to proceed with this introduction without fear of escape. They will happily greet each other with no intention to fight. Success
There you have it. Using the dog’s natural sense of smell to train him to welcome a newcomer.