Toby is 13 months old and we've suspected that his eyesight is not good for some time.* When walking on the street we have to go WAY around any areas that have patchwork that is darker than the original blacktop.* When seeing a family member in an unusual location, his tail doesn't wag or his face doesn't get happy until the family member is close or he hears their voice.
While trick-or-treating the other night, we got to a section of houses that had all their lights off and the whole street was dark, though we did have flashlights.* Toby just stopped in the street and would not go.* We were close enough to home that I got behind him and pushed his bottom along while enthusiastically encouraging him.* Then last night while my kids were at a lesson, we went on our regular walk around town for an hour.* Now that it is fall it is getting darker so much earlier, and as we were crossing a street he stopped right in the middle of the street and would not go.* I dragged him to the sidewalk and knew that this could not continue because I had to p/u the kids.* I tried to get him all excited ("Let's go get the kids!!* This is fun!!* You are a good boy!!!") and when we picked up the pace to a slow jog, he was fine.*
He does have a vet appointment in one month, so I will discuss this at that time, but I'm curious if anyone else has this issue.* For now I will try to avoid having him out in the dark, but I'm curious how to train around this.* During the Halloween walk, I did have treats in my pocket but that did not help, and he is usually obsessed wtih food.
It's possible he has bad eyesight but he's also at the age where he goes thru another fear period too so it's hard to say.* Nothing you mentioned seems really out of the ordinary to me. Dogs can have difficulty seeing at night particularly when there are shadows (shadows cause issues in the daytime too).* They tend to rely on their sense of smell rather than their eye sight.* I'd go ahead and ask the vet what s/he thinks but honestly, I'd be more concerned if he was bumping into things.* Really the only way to know for sure is to go to an opthamologist.
We adopted Murray when he was 2...the age when Labs start showing signs of PRA.* We didn't have a family history for him so when he began bumping into walls and furniture, falling off agility equipment, etc, I became concerned.* I took him to the vet and explained what I was seeing and she was concerned enough to send us to the specialist.* While in the exam room for the specialist, I was explaining what I was seeing and Murray bumped his head on the exam table.* She became concerned too.* I left him there for the day while they ran tests.* When I picked him up she told me his eye sight was perfect, he was just a clumsy dog and didn't really care if he bumped his head. Bottomline, it cost me $500 to find out he was a clutz.* :* After about 6 months he stopped banging into things.* I think his head was just bigger than his body when he was younger.*
If it is in fact his eye sight he may be having a problem with depth perception. Have you had the eyes tested by a Ophthalmologist? Since most regular vets cannot accurately diagnose a particular eye condition as well as a ACVO. I would suggest it.
I have a girl here whos eyes have been bad for about 3 years (she just turned 7 Tuesday). This past year to year and a half it has gotten worse.
Her peripheral vision is off and her depth perception. In the dark or even very bright naturally lit areas she seems to have trouble. I use a metal x-pen to separate the dogs from living room to kitchen. Sometimes if that gate is even 4 inches off she cannot gage it and will NOT cross through to the other room. She also does this of there is a transition from one type of floor to another with color change. I have had to lay carpets in my kitchen to mark a path for her to go to the back door. If a carpet is sometimes moved or missing she stops dead in her tracks and will NOT cross onto the lighter colored floor.
And if it is his eyes I feel so bad that he is having those troubles so early in his life. Hopefully it is something that will not progress any more.
Thanks for your thoughts, you both bring up good points. I do think Toby is a bit of a klutz, and he is a very submissive dog who constantly looks to my lead. It will be interesting to see what the vet says...
I can't comment about the eye sight issues, but what you are describing is very similar to what we are going through with our 3.5 year old, Piper. She was always scared of loud noises and we had a terrible storm several weeks ago. Since then she has been frightened on walks and is doing what you are describing. She just sits down on walks and won't budge. It usually requires me to run ahead and encourage her. She usually gets excited and follows along. Treats also help a lot!
Hopefully it is just a matter of being scared. To get Piper over her fears we are working on desensitizing her by slowly introducing her to loud sounds via a CD.