Dogs are truly a man's best friend. Energetic, fun-loving, and simply adorable! Even if your pup loses his sense of sight, they still want to play with their owners just as they would before.
In fact, you should continue to play friendly games with your pup to keep them active. Read on to discover some fun ways to play with your blind dog.
How To Teach A Blind Dog To Play?
As a pet parent, you might be worried about teaching your dog to play. How can they learn without their vision?
You need to understand that just because your pup's sight is compromised, it doesn’t mean their other senses are rendered useless as well. Blind dogs tend to have a stronger sense of smell and hearing.
You can teach your blind dog to play by taking it slow. Make them feel confident, and be sure to offer treats as they go.
While playing, make use of his other senses - sound, touch, and smell. You can use treats to stimulate smell or toys that make sounds to attract your pup.
When starting, try to use a smaller area to play in. This will make it easier for the dog to confidently explore the area. You will also want to remove any obstacles in the way, so your pup isn't injured.
Do Blind Dogs Get Bored?
Yes, blind dogs can get bored just as easily as any other sighted dog. Without the proper mental stimulation or physical exercise, they can grow restless.
They also want to enjoy the same things other dogs do: taking walks, playing with toys, having treats, and gentle belly rubs!
How Can I Entertain My Blind Dog?
There are plenty of ways you can entertain your blind dog. You can take them out for walks around a familiar area. However, they can become nervous, so guide them with care and try to keep up with a routine.
You can also play with them using nice-smelling treats and toys that make sounds. Incorporate their sense of smell and sound as much as possible since these are their strongest.
Can You Walk A Blind Dog?
Yes, you can take out your blind pup on walks. Just because your dog lost his sight doesn't mean he should miss out on his daily walks. Moreover, if you don't let him go out on walks, this can negatively affect his confidence.
If you are worried they might injure themselves, try fitting a halo around their head to keep them secure. This way, they won't injure themselves during walks.
You should also use a harness to steer them gently around obstacles as you go. Whenever you successfully cross through obstacles or complete your walk, reward them with a nice treat!
Mental Stimulation for Blind & Old Dogs
Mental stimulation is crucial for a dog's well-being; the same applies to blind and old dogs. Mental stimulation will help assist in brain growth, prevent boredom, build confidence and social skills, and engage your dog healthily.
You can use small playful activities to keep them active. Physical exercise is also important to keep their muscles and joints moving. Try to provide them with a safe environment where they can move around freely.
Do Blind Dogs Play With Toys?
Yup! Your blind dog will love playing with toys and puzzles like all other dogs. A toy is a great way to intrigue your pup and provides them with the necessary mental stimulation they need.
What Kind of Toys Do Blind Dogs Like?
Not all toys are appropriate for your blind pup. To give them a safe, interactive, and fun playtime, try to use toys that fall under the following 3 categories.
1. Fetch Toys for Blind Dogs
Traditional fetch would be played with round balls such as tennis balls, but these won't work with blind pups. (You should also avoid playing with tennis balls altogether since these can be hazardous for your pup).
Try to use squeaky toys for blind dogs instead or balls that release sounds. These will allow the dog to use his sense of sound to track the toy.
2. Beeping Ball or Sound Balls for Blind Dogs
Beeping balls make sounds so the dog can hear them from a distance. Your pup may not be able to see the ball, but they can hear it and therefore know which direction it is in.
3. Sound Balls Like Squeaky Toys for Blind Dogs
Sound balls are fun interactive toys that make sounds when touched or pressed on. Such balls are also great to use while playing with blind dogs.
How to play fetch with a blind dog?
To start, let your pup have a good sniff of the toy to familiarize them with it.
Then, throw the toy at a safe distance (you can gradually increase it to make it more competitive over time).
Allow your dog to fetch the toy using its sense of smell.
Once they do so successfully, reward them!
See A Blind Dog Playing Fetch
What Games Can You Play With A Blind Dog?
There are plenty of games you can play with your blind pup. Here are some of our 6 personal favorites!
1. Hide & Seek
You need to go into another room for this game and call out to your pup. Use a sound ball or a squeaky toy to further direct them to the correct room.
Since your scent is all over the home, they might find it harder to track you, but using sounds will help guide them. Once your pup successfully finds you, reward them by giving a nice treat.
2. Tug of War and Chase
The classic game of tug of war is great to play with your furry friend!
You will need a nice tug toy such as this soft plush dog toy from Sheraton Luxuries. You can drag the toy along the floor or if it squeaks, press it lightly to grab your dog's attention.
Once your dog uses his mouth to grab it, you can start tugging lightly. Try to tug at the same level your dog is at, as you don’t want to injure them with any sudden pulling.
Try to engage them as much as possible and build their confidence. Try to let them win sometimes, and treat them when they do!
3. Magic Cups
Magic cups, also known as the shell game, is a great way to work on your dog's sense of smell.
For this, you will take three empty plastic cups and hide a nice scented treat or nice scented toy under one of them. Try to have your dog stay in one position as you do so.
Now, allow your pup to sniff out the treat! (You will also find this a great way to work on “sit/stay” commands). You can also scent any ball you have or use a scent marker for this game.
4. Scented Fetch
Dogs love playing fetch! But in this game of fetch, you will rely on your dog's sense of smell.
Use a scented ball or rub your puppy’s favorite smelling treat on them to attract them. Next, look for an open space to play in without any obstacles that might injure your pup. A backyard, a park, or a beach all work quite well.
5. Fetch With Sounds
This game of fetch is quite similar to our previous game, but you will be using a sound dog toy ball instead of a scented one.
A squeaky rubber toy, a sound ball, or a plush toy with sounds will do perfectly! Once you have your toy ready, follow the same steps above for your game of fetch.
6. Muffin Tin Puzzle