Q. Can visually impaired dogs do agility?
A. Fully blind dogs can not compete in agility, however, several venues accept dogs who are blind in one eye or have visual impairment. I have a dog, Quick, who is diagnosed with Collie Eye Anomaly – he has serious holes in his vision. He does just fine, since he’s learned to trust me, and also to turn his head to look for the obstacle (or sheep!) Some dogs, however, have what is called Early Take-off Syndrome (for more information, check out Linda Mecklenburg’s site.)
For practicing with your visually impaired dog, I suggest discussing with your vet first, and then your trainer, to come up with effective strategies to work with your dog. Maybe verbal commands would be better, or handling from their seeing side. Does anyone else have a dog with visual issues? how do you work with that?
We just got back into agility from a two year break due to illness. When we started 4 years ago, Angel had both eyes. Tonight was her second class back with just one and she ran great.
It takes a little more thought on my side, but she’s having just as much fun as ever with agility.
I’m so glad you guys are working so well together! 🙂 Always good to hear a happy agility story.