Seeing is believing

                                              This OES's owner takes care of the hair problem nicely.

Its thursday and I want to talk about eyes.   Sight is very important for a dog; they rely on much of their communications by visuals.  Of course there are dogs who cannot see because they were either born blind, had a genetic disorder or accident and they adjust, most do very nicely indeed.  BUT, unfortunately there are dogs who cannot see simply because they have hair in their eyes. I'm an eye fanatic; for me a dog must have a clear range of vision and if that means that they get an eye trim then that is what must happen.

                                              This little guy is cute but he can't see properly

We have a regular OES (Old English Sheepdog) at our park; he is very cute and when I first met the dog I could see his eyes, which meant he could see. Well he is now sporting the more traditional blind style that the breed is known for. I remember as a youngster; I was speaking to someone who had OES's. I asked if they could see; "yes, they can totally see." And I was left to ponder how this special breed could see through a wall of hair. It is a huge misconception that these very special dogs can see just fine through all of that hair.  They can't.

No dog can see through a ton of hair. For those of you who have long hair like me; you know how annoying it is when your hair is in your face, right? Imagine not only a couple of strands but a whole whack of hair right over your eyes; it must drive one crazy. So I'm a fan of the snip and see; yep, cutting the hair around the eyes so that your dog can see. There are many breeds and mixes that need the eye trim; mine is one of them. And when they are carrying a bit more coat an eye trim is always in order.

If one of my training clients is having difficulty seeing; I recommend the trim. I show the owner how to tell what needs to be clipped. Hold your dogs muzzle in the palm of your hand; move down to eye level with your dog. Sitting face to face, look down their muzzle and into their eyes checking for hair obstacles. Often the top of the muzzle needs trimming as well as the area directly around the eye. I remember one canine client who simply could not catch; as much as the owner worked on it, it just was not happening. As I watched the non progress I realized that the dog could not see because of a mass of hair on the top of her muzzle. We did a quick utility clip and presto; like magic she was catching in moments.

Absolutely adorable, and he can see.

Often behavior issues can stem from a lack of being able to see. Dogs can become fearful or aggressive if they are unable to view the world as they should be able to. Hair in a dog's eyes is a big issue with me; I don't care what breed or mix you have, cut it. If you show your dog and they must keep their blinding locks then pin it up or tack it down but make sure that your dog can see.

And to put an end to the urban legend that dogs can see through a thick wall of hair?  Well they can't.