I live in an area that had a lot of recent solar eclipse activity, and this morning I read this interesting article about the eye damage that can easily result from just a few seconds of exposure at the right angle to the sun's rays. We all know not to look directly at the sun, right?
But what about the position we're putting our dogs in, when we are training our dogs?
Is our dog's face (and eye line-of-sight) toward the sun when we are asking him to sit, or doing a retrieve, or a down-stay? In other words, when our dog is obediently looking up at OUR face, are we inadvertently positioning his face and his eyes to be getting more direct-line exposure to the sun than we should? We often position ourselves with our back to the sun for our own comfort-- so we can see our dog well-- but we don't want to accidentally expose our dogs to dangerous sun radiation in their eyes.
The exposure won't cause pain, but will ruin their eyesight. It doesn't take much. The upward angle of a small dog's head will be greater than a large dog's, though both are now a consideration in my mind.
I'm much more aware of this now, thanks to the eclipse, and I'll caution my dog training students to be aware of this as well. In almost every case it's easy to make minor adjustments to ensure our dear dogs are not being asked to essentially look into the sun as they are looking into our own faces during training.
Here's to keeping training fun, positive, effective AND safe for all involved! Especially our dear dogs.