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Dog Training/dealing with a blind 5yr old Cavalier


I have a lovely, 5 yr old Cavalier dog who started going blind when he was about 2 1/2.  He has become increasingly anxious while I am out.  I have been working 5 hrs a day, 5 days a week and when I get home he cries and carries on until he can get in my lap. This behavior is fairly new for him. My problem is I have to start working 8 hrs a day next week (10 hrs with travel) and I don't know what that is going to do to him.  He has a dog-door now so he can get outside during the day but I don't know what to expect when I am gone so much longer.
I have been thinking of trying a crate but he hasn't been in one of those since he was a tiny pup.  Do you think that would help him? If so, is there something I could do to ease him into staying for 10 hours in a crate each day?

Hi Sandy. Does he get anxious as you're preparing to leave? Is there any damage done to the house while you're gone? Does he eat/drink while you're gone? Does he bark/whine/pace/drool while you're gone?

If the answer is "no" to those questions, then I wouldn't do anything differently when you have to be gone longer. Be sure he gets a walk to tire him out before you have to leave.  Leave his food in a puzzle toy for him to work at while you're gone. Put it in a different place every day so he has to use his nose to find it.

If the answer is "yes" to any of those questions, see your vet to be sure there's not a chance of something medical going on and then see if your vet would like to recommend an anti-anxiety medication.  There are some OTC things you can try as well:  Thundershirt, Adaptil collar, Comfort Zone DAP diffuser, Through a Dog's Ear calming music

If you are considering using a crate, you will have to have someone come and let him out during the day.  10 hours of crating is inhumane and a dog should not be expected to hold his urine or bowels for that amount of time.

Be sure that when you arrive home, you ignore all the frantic behavior and only pay attention to him when he calms down.

Please get back with me if you have further questions or want to follow up with more information.

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Barb Gadola, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP


I can answer questions related to problem dog behaviors, teaching polite manners, puppy raising, and any type of training-related issues. My website page, offers a wealth of information on training and behavior issues as well.


I've been training dogs since 1989 and own and operate Distinctive Dog Training LLC in Keller TX. I specialize in providing practical and positive solutions for families through personalized training in their home.

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Victoria Stilwell Positively! Licensed Trainer
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Association of Animal Behavior Professionals
Truly Dog Friendly Coalition

BS in Education
Graduate work in Behavioral Psychology
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Training Program
Certified Professional Dog Trainer

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