On the ClickerSolutions and Blind and Vision-Impaired Clicker Training mailing lists last week, a member presented a problem. She had a blind handler beginning one of her classes, and she wasn't sure how to help him succeed with clicker training. She gathered a fabulous list of tips, including:
- Teach "touch," and let that be a replacement for eye contact.
- The student will be able to tell through touch and through the leash what the dog is doing. To help him learn to recognize what different behaviors "feel like," tap his shoulder to cue him to click the dog.
- Use a tether at home to keep the dog close. This will help set the trainer up to succeed, and it will help the dog be familiar with being close during class.
- The student is your best source of information. Ask him his thoughts and plans and work with him. Ask him what he perceives when you're working, how behaviors feel and sound.
- Blindfold yourself and practice with your own dog to get an idea of how different behaviors "feel."
- Make sure all class handouts are accessible.