We adopted Greta, a 4-month old German Shepherd/Labrador mix from our local animal shelter in May of this year. We enrolled her in puppy obedience training and noticed that she responded differently than the other puppies, in that she continued to jump on people, mouthed constantly and couldn’t find her treats when thrown. She also bumped into objects. We originally attributed her actions to “clumsy puppy syndrome.”
After three months of watching her behavior we took her to our vet who referred us to an ophthalmologist for dogs. Her examination showed that Greta’s optic nerves had not developed and she had been blind since birth. She has no sight on her right side and may be able to see movement on her left. Because Greta relies on her senses of smell and hearing, she does get around fairly well.
The ophthalmologist recommend the book, Living with Blind Dogs by Carolyn Levine. The book is an excellent resource and suggests ways to train a blind dog and protect it from harming itself.
Our challenge is providing Greta with toys that she can’t destroy. She has chewed up all the plush toys we gave her. She is a strong chewer and has chewed up several balls and rubber bones (last night, it was her tennis ball). Even hard plastic balls that we thought were save, she seems to find a week spot and chews up. So far,, the only toy that has not been destroyed is her kong. I would like to know if anyone else has this issue and am open to suggestions for toys for Greta.