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My puppy that is now 9 months old has been having what I thought was vision issues. Today we traveled four hours to a board certified ophthalmologist. She diagnosed my puppy with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia Bilateral. Does anyone else’s dog have this? How should I go about training? Feeling rather distressed and sad for my pup.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear of your beautiful baby's diagnosis! Did the opthalmologist say what percentage of vision she has left? I hope the breeders are being supportive. I've had one dog with severe vision loss--our Old English Sheepdog. She gradually went totally blind and it was very sad at first, but she completely adapted. We had to keep the furniture layout the same and always talk to her as approaching so she wouldn't get startled.
 

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She is super pretty. I am sorry you are having such a troubling issue. But yes I have know of any number of blind dogs who have had rich and happy lives. MaizyFrosty and twyla both made good suggestions.
 

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I had a dog once who turned blind and we didn’t even notice it before we moved and she had trouble getting by because she didn’t know the place.

Show her if you move furniture and keep her on a leash for a while if you move. Dogs are so good at adapting.
 

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OH MY! I am sorry you got such a bad diagnosis! Yes it is very sad but I believe she will cope quite well in a supportive environment! Do notify the breeder as this is reason for her to remove dogs from her breeding program due to it's genetic component for poodles. Did you have a guarantee in your contract? I thought Clarion had a lifetime guarantee for genetic
problems?
I wish you the best with your lovely girl!
 

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I'm a parent of a visually impaired child. I am really sorry your dog was diagnosed with a visual impairment. Now you're in a place you didn't expect to be. We'll meet you here and help as best as we can.

MaisyFrosty mentioned that startle is a big issue. It's a big issue for blind toddlers and for blind puppies. A startled dog can become an aggressive dog just out of fear. You can be her guide human on walks. Encourage her to listen for approaching people and other animals. Create a word cue for your dog that means someone is coming that she might not be aware of. And that word cue could be something simple like, "Listen." Which means she should swivel her head and listen for an approaching person or dog. A head turn in the correct direction earns a treat.

A gravel driveway would be a good place to start practicing this. Have someone make a crunching sound when you point at them. So, you point, they softly crunch the gravel from a distance of about 15 feet. When your dog turns towards the sound, say, "Listen! YES!" And reward. You'll name the turning toward the sound game, "Listen!" Repeat about 10 times. Do something else for a while, and come back and play the game. After a few days of practice, have your assistant make a sound on cement. Flip-flops would be good for this. Again, you point, they make a sound, "LISTEN!" watch for your dog to turn toward the sound, "YES!" Treat. Practice the Listen game often to prevent startle problems before they start.

Confidence in exploring the environment is difficult when you can't see the world. My toddler daughter stood on the edge of the rug too terrified to step off onto the wood floor. To her, it looked like stepping over the edge of the Grand Canyon. She couldn't perceive the depth and was too scared to try. She was only two. I laid down on my belly beside her and we stretched our hands from the rug to the wood floor. It took some time for her to understand if she stepped off the rug she wouldn't fall to her death. It's scary to explore a world you cannot see well.

There are halo devices your dog can wear that encircle their head and work like a white cane for a person. The haio bumps into objects before the dog bonks their head.


This halo device serves two purposes. One, it's helpful to your dog, and two, it's a visual cue to strangers that something is different with this dog. This might help prevent strangers from letting their dogs race up and get in your dog's face.

As far as dog's enjoyment of life, seek out toys that make noise, balls that beep, balls that have a hidden compartment for a treat she can sniff out. Put your thinking cap on. What are ways I can interact with my dog using touch, sound or scent? You've got this. It's not what you planned, but you've got this.
 

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My Sass went blind in her last few years, so we didn't have to deal with training but navigation was an issue.

I'd read somewhere about using essential oils, a few drops, on furniture legs, doorways and such, to help her navigate, so we tried that. I think it helped her.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear of your beautiful baby's diagnosis! Did the opthalmologist say what percentage of vision she has left? I hope the breeders are being supportive. I've had one dog with severe vision loss--our Old English Sheepdog. She gradually went totally blind and it was very sad at first, but she completely adapted. We had to keep the furniture layout the same and always talk to her as approaching so she wouldn't get startled.
She says she wishes dogs could read eye charts like we are able to! She says her vision is limited and it appears one eye sees some. Her vision loss is pretty major, but apparently with age it will NOT get worse. This makes me somewhat relieved. I'm glad your dog was able to adapt so well!
 

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OH MY! I am sorry you got such a bad diagnosis! Yes it is very sad but I believe she will cope quite well in a supportive environment! Do notify the breeder as this is reason for her to remove dogs from her breeding program due to it's genetic component for poodles. Did you have a guarantee in your contract? I thought Clarion had a lifetime guarantee for genetic
problems?
I wish you the best with your lovely girl!
I did notify the breeder and she is going to contact the veterinarian. She is also going to reach out to other puppies in the litter so they can have their eyes checked. There is a guarantee in the contract and I'm sure Clarion will make it right. Luckily, we have not known any differently with Poppy, so for awhile we assumed this is how all puppies were. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm a parent of a visually impaired child. I am really sorry your dog was diagnosed with a visual impairment. Now you're in a place you didn't expect to be. We'll meet you here and help as best as we can.

MaisyFrosty mentioned that startle is a big issue. It's a big issue for blind toddlers and for blind puppies. A startled dog can become an aggressive dog just out of fear. You can be her guide human on walks. Encourage her to listen for approaching people and other animals. Create a word cue for your dog that means someone is coming that she might not be aware of. And that word cue could be something simple like, "Listen." Which means she should swivel her head and listen for an approaching person or dog. A head turn in the correct direction earns a treat.

A gravel driveway would be a good place to start practicing this. Have someone make a crunching sound when you point at them. So, you point, they softly crunch the gravel from a distance of about 15 feet. When your dog turns towards the sound, say, "Listen! YES!" And reward. You'll name the turning toward the sound game, "Listen!" Repeat about 10 times. Do something else for a while, and come back and play the game. After a few days of practice, have your assistant make a sound on cement. Flip-flops would be good for this. Again, you point, they make a sound, "LISTEN!" watch for your dog to turn toward the sound, "YES!" Treat. Practice the Listen game often to prevent startle problems before they start.

Confidence in exploring the environment is difficult when you can't see the world. My toddler daughter stood on the edge of the rug too terrified to step off onto the wood floor. To her, it looked like stepping over the edge of the Grand Canyon. She couldn't perceive the depth and was too scared to try. She was only two. I laid down on my belly beside her and we stretched our hands from the rug to the wood floor. It took some time for her to understand if she stepped off the rug she wouldn't fall to her death. It's scary to explore a world you cannot see well.

There are halo devices your dog can wear that encircle their head and work like a white cane for a person. The haio bumps into objects before the dog bonks their head.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njNCKXyojUY

This halo device serves two purposes. One, it's helpful to your dog, and two, it's a visual cue to strangers that something is different with this dog. This might help prevent strangers from letting their dogs race up and get in your dog's face.

As far as dog's enjoyment of life, seek out toys that make noise, balls that beep, balls that have a hidden compartment for a treat she can sniff out. Put your thinking cap on. What are ways I can interact with my dog using touch, sound or scent? You've got this. It's not what you planned, but you've got this.
Wow! Thank you for all of this information! I will be printing out this information and referring to it as we navigate this new diagnosis. I really appreciate the help!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Poppy is doing really well with everything. She really seems quite unbothered by her diagnosis.

Question: If the the contract stated and the breeder agreed to a full refund, provided half of the refund almost six months ago and then has not responded to any messages, what would you do?
 

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So happy to hear Poppy is doing well! But sorry the breeder isn't upholding their end of the bargain.

By messages do you mean emails? Voicemail? Text? Assuming you've tried all contact methods, I'd probably make one last attempt, in writing, summarizing all your previous attempts to get in touch and stating that you need to have this resolved by a specific date. Sometimes a deadline is needed to nudge a reluctant party into action.
 

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OregonPoo,

I am glad to hear from you again, and to hear that Poppy is doing well. During my own search for a mini poodle this year I had heard from an additional source that this form of blindness has been popping up with perhaps a slight increase in the US recently, and I was quite concerned about it. I have wondered how Poppy is doing, and it is good news that she is flourishing.

Disappointing, however, that you have not had good communication from your breeder. Perhaps a certified letter would get her attention? It is frustrating to hear of puppy buyers who have done all the right things, who still acquire a puppy with a health issue, and then have a breeder with a gilded reputation who is less than responsive regarding their health guarantees. Come on, Breeders, we need better than this!

Poppy is such a beautiful girl. I hope you will continue to join us here on PF so we can enjoy hearing of your lives together. Best wishes.
 

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Hello, I am a teacher of the visually impaired and deal with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia is human children all the time. It is the third leading cause of vision impairment in kids in the developed world so it is interesting to me that it is becoming more common in dogs as well. I learn something new here all the time...

I love all of the suggestions Click gave! We use sound and scent cues with children so dogs will excel at these. I would also add to project confidence so the dog does not worry. I am sure it would be easy to assume they will struggle but if you are confident and use the strategies she will adapt and not be scared.
 
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