Topics covered in this article:
- Can my blind dog use the Halo Collar?
- Is Halo effective for visually impaired dogs?
- Does my dog need to be able to see to use the Halo Collar?
The Halo Collar can definitely be used with blind or vision impaired dogs!
The Halo System doesn't rely on sight-based training like in-ground wired systems do with flag-training methods. This is because dogs use their noses, eyes, and ears--in that order--to learn, meaning it's most important to work with your dog's nose. Halo works with your dog's instincts, rather than against them.
To achieve this, Cesar Millan's 21-day program will teach you to create curiosity with your dog's nose through an interesting smell. Then, you will learn to provide guidance to keep your dog away from the boundary, and come back to you for encouragement or a reward. As you walk through the program, you will learn how to introduce enough variety of smells and situations so that your dog will learn to associate the prompts from the Halo Collar with the response to a) keep away from danger, and b) come back to safety. Since your dog's prompts should have a universal directional meaning (i.e. walking forward vs. turning around), your dog's blindness shouldn't be an issue when using the Halo System.
The most important thing with any dog is to make sure that you only provide prevention feedback at exactly the right time. This is especially true when training a dog who is blind. If your dog is blind, the major helpful adjustment you might want to try is to continue with manual Beacon Training for a longer period of time before moving on to automated Beacon Training. The Halo Beacon was designed to help train your dog by providing indoor Bluetooth boundaries, and it is part of the training process outlined in the app.
Since your dog cannot see the high-value food items that you will use for training, you will need to observe their body language to ensure your dog is paying attention to that smell at exactly the same time as you provide a prompt to turn around. Otherwise, if your dog wasn't paying attention to the training smell you will use to create curiosity, they may become confused about why the prompt is happening, and what it means.
So please make sure to spend extra time on this process, until your dog very consistently shows you that they understand that their first prompt means a) stop moving forward, and b) turn back around to walk away.