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Canine Behavior/my blind dog


I got a blind border colliem he is eight months old and I have had him since he was eight weeks old.
He is very loved and spoilt and just a delight. When we first got him if he was unsure where he was he would drop. This he harly dose any more he is very confident where ever he goes.

He normally loves his walks but latley half way through it he just drops and will not move regardless what we do

We have got him used to traffic and he loves meeting every one on his walk, and nothing has happened to frighten him

At this stage we are not sure if we should continue with the walks, but he still needs his exercise, as out yard is small

Would appreciate any advise you can give

Thank you

Thank you for your question. You've taken on a challenge by choosing to love a blind dog. Kudos to you for putting your dog's needs/sense of safety at the top of your priority list.

You said, "nothing has happened to frighten him." I would venture to say: Nothing that you KNOW OF has frightened him. You  may not even recognize when something had made him nervous. It could be as subtle as a change in the weather - if you're suddenly getting lots of wind or rain/thunder storms, if the temperature has dropped or raised dramatically in the days surrounding the sudden change in behavior, if a car backfired or a motorcycle roared by, any of these could have made him more concerned about the world. Example: if he heard a motorcycle roar past him one day while out walking, and it startled him because it's so loud and sounds like a monster growling, then he may prepare for another encounter if he hears a motorcycle a block or two away... He's at a disadvantage being unable to actually see his surroundings so he is less able to assess where those sounds are coming from - and I know plenty of fully sighted dogs that react strongly to things such as a motorcycle driving past...

So it's possible that something happened that seemed mundane at the time, but has spooked him and is making him nervous. Is he stopping at roughly the same point on the walk - the same distance from your house? Is it only when you go one direction but not the other? Is it 5 houses from your own, no matter which direction you go? If it's in one particular area - always near or in front of the same house, I'd be looking at the environment right there - is there a new dog behind a fence? Is there construction going on? Are they playing loud music or using machinery or is there electrical buzzing there? Did a new family just move into that house? Did someone die there right before your dog's behavior changed? Any number of environmental things could be happening that are making him nervous in that particular location. Solving such an issue might involve some counter conditioning with your dog.

Doing exercises where you approach to just before your dog feels the need to drop down for security (e.g. 15 feet away), give him super tasty treats, then retreat away from that location. Wait about 10 seconds and repeat the exercise until he's turning to you expectantly for those treats, rather than cowering. Then, once he's clearly comfortable at that distance, you can take one or two steps closer (watching his body language and still stopping before he begins cowering), give super tasty treats and retreat until he is clearly comfortable at the new location, and build on that until you can walk directly to the spot where he normally drops, and then continue past it.

You may need to change your walking route so that you're not passing that location. If you have to go that way, perhaps you can cross the street or make a wide arc so that you're clearly moving around/away from whatever is making your dog nervous. You may never determine exactly what is upsetting him, but addressing it by helping him feel more confident and associating that scary place with super tasty treats can help him change his emotional response to that location.

If there's no rhyme or reason to where he is, it's just 20 minutes into the walk, no matter where you are - even if you've driven to a different neighborhood or a park, etc - and he stops walking, then we need to seriously look at his physical health. He may have an injury that is exacerbated by the walking and he reaches a point where it's uncomfortable enough that he needs to stop walking. Whether you think it's environmental or physical, he should get a complete exam, physical and blood work to make sure we're not missing anything that could be causing or making the behavior worse. Often, we see a behavior change that is coincidental to an environmental change, but it's mere coincidence and there is actually an underlying medical reason for the behavior. So we need to be sure his body is sound. If the vet finds an ailment, then treating it may extinguish the odd behavior on the walk.

I would schedule a visit with the vet for as soon as possible. In the meantime, I'd shorten the walks to less than half the length of your usual walk. If you normally walk for 30 minutes, then I'd take him for just 10-minute walks for a while. Perhaps twice per day. Simply breaking up the walk into shorter spurts may put an end to the odd behavior. But it doesn't address the reason behind it - if he's fine on a shorter walk, we still don't know if we're just avoiding a physical location that's upsetting him, or if we're avoiding aggravating an injury by simply walking less... So, shorter walks is a good management option while you try to determine the cause of the behavior and then address that.

Good luck. I hope this proves helpful. Please feel free to followup if I can be of further assistance.

Jody, APDT
Los Angeles Behaviorist

Canine Behavior

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Jody Epstein, MS, CPDT-KA


IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR DOG IS ILL OR INJURED, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS NOT THE FORUM TO ADDRESS URGENT MEDICAL ISSUES. I AM NOT A LICENSED VET AND HAVE NO DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS. ***I have been answering questions on All Experts for over 8 years now. I enjoy being able to offer assistance in this forum. I do need to be clear, though. If you’re looking for free advice about a specific behavior question, you MUST submit your question to me via All Experts. If you bypass All Experts and write to me directly through my website, I will ask you to submit via All Experts. On the flip side, if you’re local to Los Angeles and you wish to speak to me privately about an in person consultation, please go through my website. I appreciate your assistance in keeping my volunteer work on the volunteer site.*** I can answer questions about the following canine behavior issues: obedience, timid/fearful & fear-based aggression, nuisance behaviors, families that are expanding with either new human or new animal members and many other issues. If you have potty training questions please first read my trio of blogs at If you still have questions after reading the blogs you can post your specific questions here. PLEASE be as specific as possible when asking a question. Give me a detailed example of the situation - dog's behavior, body language, circumstances surrounding the issue, what the consequences are (another dog's response, your response), etc. I can only provide insight if I can get a picture of the whole scenario. If I ask for further details, please provide them. In person I would normally observe for at least 90 minutes to assess the situation and the dynamics before offering tools and suggestions to modify it. In writing it is ever so much more difficult. Thank you for your participation in the process.


I have been a professional obedience trainer for 9 years, and specializing in behavior modification for 8 years. I have owned dogs my entire life. I own my own dog training and behavior modification business called Nutz About Mutz.

I am a Certified Profession Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), #2133301 ; I am a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), #77763 ; I am an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator (CGC), #71253

Publications ; ; Multiple articles in the local pet magazine Pet Press (found across Southern California)

I have a masters degree (MS) in Animals and Public Policy, with a minor in Animal Behavior, from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. I also have 3 years of graduate education in Animal Behavior and Learning from UM-Missoula and UL-Lafayette. I continue to educate myself to canine-specific behavior through extensive reading, online interactive workshops, vidoes and attending canine behavior conferences, workshops and seminars. Beginning in March, 2017, I will be the Behavior & Training Manager at Second Chance Center for Animals in Flagstaff, AZ.

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