View Full Version : Can dogs see colour?

12th May 2006, 11:44 AM
I was under the impression that dogs couldn't see in colour. That was until I started to have a few difficulties on my morning walk with Maisie. It appears that she's scared of all things yellow!!! There are a number of yellow objects we pass (parking bollards, grit bins etc), but as most of these objects are also big, I put it down to the shape and size of the object scaring her. Then she started to get spooked at another area close to the school. I looked all around for anything that looked remotely scarey but couldn't fathom it out. One of the girls that I walk to school with noticed that the kerbs were painted with yellow and black stripes and could this possibly be what was scaring her. I didn't think it could be this, so walked to another area where we don't normally go which has the same painted kerbs. Sure enough, little madam lay flat on the floor shaking and refusing to move. Is this just a bizarre coincidence?
Now the next question is, what do I do? There has been a few times, where I have had to pick her up because she simply would not move her legs. I don't want her to think she's getting extra attention because of her fear as I think she will then play on it a bit. icon_nwunsure
Help guys and girls!!!

Maisie (ruby)

12th May 2006, 11:49 AM
They can definitely see colour but in a limited range. see:


I posted on this in the Library!

12th May 2006, 11:56 AM
Way to deal with it -- start to bring a good handful of small treats like small dry food or tiny bits of cheese or hotdogs.

Then make sure she knows the 'look' command -- will look to your eyes every time you say 'look'. You can teach her this by having her sit, holding a treat up between your eyes, and when she looks at you, praise and treat WITHOUT giving any command at first. You can make a kissing dound or similar to help get her attention though. Within a few tries, she should be looking to you in anticipation. Now as SOON as her eyes lock on yours, say 'look!' cheerfully and immediately give her the treat. Then try walking her and saying 'look!'. When she looks, treat her. Keep practicing this on walks or any situation. You can also praise rather than give treats -- good to start alternating then soon you won;t need the treats at all.

Now for the colour yellow or scary items. Walk her deliberately past such items but at a distance where she feels safe -- ask her to look, and praise and treat her; look again, praise and treat (for the intital work on this you will want to be treating). Gradually move her closer to the item and calmly walk her past, treating again using the look command.

basically what you are doing is conditioning her to ignore what she is afraid of and focus on you. You need to remain calm and cheerful and reward her for not obsessing over the item/colour/ewhatever the trigger is. She will learn to look at you any time she is worried and wonders what her resonse should be. You will probably notice that your dog does this anyway in some situations as is. How you react is important -- if you try and fuss and comfort you reinforce her fear reaction and show her you too find the thing worth worrying about. If you ignore her fear and the item and instead focus on getting her to think to look to you for direction, and are showing her not only is that bollard no big deal but here's a nice treat, she should gradually lose her fears and even start to associate that good things happen when I am near that scary thing so it must not be so scary after all! :)

You can use this technique for about any anxiety response -- to objects, other dogs, noises etc

13th May 2006, 04:46 PM
Thanks for the advice Karlin. I actually read your post yesterday, and thought it sounded good but would probably take a little while. Today I walked the route where all the "scarey yellow" things are, and tried the technique you described. SUCCESS!!
Why didn't I do it sooner?? :sl*p:

I always have a pocket full of treats in my pocket anyway, and it's so much like common sense, I feel stupid for not doing it before today.
Thanks again Karlin

Maisie (ruby-most definately not yellow)