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What Colors Dogs See and Why It Matters for Dog Sports

Kristin is a dog agility instructor and competitor with 20 years in the sport.

Dog Vision and Agility

Color in dog sports serves the purpose of helping the dog safely navigate the sporting environment.

Color in dog sports serves the purpose of helping the dog safely navigate the sporting environment.

Do Dogs See in Only Black and White?

Growing up, I had heard that dogs see in black and white. It was easy for me to imagine how a dog saw the world as black and white televisions were still fairly common when I was a child. Watching black and white "Lassie" episodes, I was able to see exactly what I believed Lassie saw. Her black and white world was right there on my TV set.

I have since learned that dogs see more colors than just black and white. However, they do not see the color spectrum that most humans see. Dogs, it turns out, are color blind.

How Do Dogs See Color?

"Cones" on the retinas at the back of our eyes allow us to see colors. Typically, most people have three sets of cones. Dogs and humans with color blindness have only two. This means dogs can see in shades of blues, yellows and grays. However, dogs have more "rods" in their eyes, which gives them better night vision.

Check out the two color spectrums below to get a sense of the colors people can see versus what dogs can see.

The Dog's Color Spectrum

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The Human's Color Spectrum

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You may be thinking while knowing a dog's color spectrum is an interesting piece of trivia, it really doesn't matter from a dog training perspective. After all, we aren't training dogs to drive, so it doesn't matter if they can see red stop signs or green lights. However, with the upswing in fast-paced canine sports, the dog's color vision becomes a very important piece of knowledge that can help keep the dogs safe.

Why Does a Dog's Color Eyesight Matter in Canine Sports?

Take for instance the sport of agility, where a dog runs at top speed through an obstacle course. The dog must take the obstacles in a certain sequence, and each course is laid out differently. A handler has only a millisecond to communicate to the dog which obstacle is next. Poorly timed communication can not only result in the dog taking a "wrong course" obstacle, it can result in the dog miscalculating a jump or obstacle, "crashing," and possibly injuring him or herself.

To ensure that the millisecond communication between handler and dog is clear, handlers work for years to train their dog to read the slightest physical cues such as hand signals, deceleration of forward motion, proper shoulder placement, footwork, and much, much more. These cues are perfectly placed and timed for the exact moment the dog will need that communication. Yet, if a handler is dressed in brown and is running on brown dirt in a horse arena with dull tan walls, all of the handler's hours and hours of preparation may be for naught if the dog cannot clearly and quickly visually distinguish the handler.

This information from the handler is coming at the dog fast and furious. Except for occasional verbal information, almost all of the cues are non-verbal. The dog needs to respond to this information immediately. Fast dogs cannot take a second glance to see if they read that information properly. To help the dog, handlers must stand out visually from their background so that a fast-moving animal can see them.

Wear Contrasting Clothing

Here the handler is wearing a dark blue shirt and blue jeans both of which will contrast nicely with the brown dirt and white walls of the agility venue.

Here the handler is wearing a dark blue shirt and blue jeans both of which will contrast nicely with the brown dirt and white walls of the agility venue.

I learned this concept from my fast dog, Asher. We usually compete in horse arenas on brown dirt with dirty white walls and fencing. I noticed from videos of our runs that when I wore one of my favorite tan agility shirts Asher wouldn't see some of my physical cues. He wasn't intentionally ignoring them. He appeared to simply not see them. Yet, when I wore shirts that contrasted with the background, he appeared to see all of my physical cues. After several weekend agility trials taped with my tan shirt and other contrasting shirts, I saw the pattern and discovered that Asher did better if he could see me better.

Of course, this is obvious when you stop and think about it.

Good Color Contrast in Clothing

Blue May Be the Clue

If I am going to be showing in an arena with dirt surface and dirty white or gray walls, I will choose shirts that are in the blue spectrum. This can include bluish purple shirts. I also can wear black. I avoid reds, oranges, yellows and greens as they will become shades of yellow and brown. I also avoid solid whites as they can blend with the white walls. If I am going to be competing on soccer turf with white walls or walls covered in advertisements, I again choose blue shirts unless the soccer turf is a bluish green. I can also wear black. I avoid reds, oranges, yellows and greens and solid whites. Remember, green looks like yellow to a dog.

A handler also needs to pay attention to the color of their shorts or pants. They may even want to think about wearing long pants if they'll be running on dirt, as all colors of human skin could blend easily into the colors of a dirt agility surface. By wearing pants, handlers can make themselves stand out better from the background.

This clothing contrast concept would be important not only for agility, but for almost all dogs sports from obedience to disc dog. Anytime a handler gives the dog a visual cue, it will help if the dog can see that cue clearly the instant it is delivered.

Poor Clothing Choice

This blue football jersey and the blue jeans will contrast nicely with the brownish-green soccer turf. However the busy nature of the wall advertising and the numbers, letters and logo on the jersey could blend easily.

This blue football jersey and the blue jeans will contrast nicely with the brownish-green soccer turf. However the busy nature of the wall advertising and the numbers, letters and logo on the jersey could blend easily.

Good Contrasting Clothing

Here dark blue jeans and a shirt of mostly blue with white stripes will contrast nicely in a gray obedience venue.  However the gray shoes might blend into the floor for dogs who cue heeling patterns off of their handler's feet.

Here dark blue jeans and a shirt of mostly blue with white stripes will contrast nicely in a gray obedience venue. However the gray shoes might blend into the floor for dogs who cue heeling patterns off of their handler's feet.

Dog Training Equipment Color Matters Too

But clothing is not the only consideration when it comes to understanding color contrast for the dog. Training equipment must also be taken into consideration. For disc dogs, this would mean knowing the basic colors of the environment where the dog will be competing and using flying discs that will contrast with that color. If a disc competition is being held in a park with green grass and blue skies, then the discs need to be in shades of dark blue, white, or black. If a disc competition will be held in a park in the winter with dried, brown grass and gray skies, then discs in shades of blue, white, pink, purple or black would be best seen.

For agility, this also means that agility clubs and schools need to have a full understanding of what colors dogs see when choosing paint colors for their equipment. Many agility titling organizations have rules on color options for contact zones (see video above), and most clubs go with yellow. If going with yellow, then the other color on the contact equipment should be a shade of blue. This way, if a dogwalk sits on a dirt brown surface, the yellow contact zone may be harder for the dog to see, but the rest of the dogwalk's up-ramp will be easily seen. Conversely, if a dogwalk painted yellow and blue sits on a bluish rubber surface, the dog may not see the blue part of the dog walk as easily, but it can very easily determine the yellow contact zone, allowing it to safely find the up-ramp.

However, using contact equipment painted yellow and red on a brown or green running surface will cause the equipment to easily blend into the background as everything will be shades of yellow and brown. Remember, dogs don't see red. Instead they will see shades of yellow and brown. I believe contact equipment is best if painted the usual, albeit boring, yellow contact zones with contrasting blue bodies. Then, no matter the surface and background, some part of the equipment will pop out to the dog as it heads to the up-ramp.

Colored agility jumps must be considered, too. Red, yellow and green jumps will all be shades of yellow and brown. If they are located on a brown or green surface, the dog is seeing it all as shades of yellow and brown. The white bars do help, but solid white jumps with contrasting blue tape or bright blue jumps with white bars would probably be among the best color choices.

Painting Tables for Contrast

This table has blue sides making it much easier to see, but the yellow top can blend into the brown dirt surface.

This table has blue sides making it much easier to see, but the yellow top can blend into the brown dirt surface.

A trend I am seeing in agility is to paint pause tables yellow. This is causing many dogs to run by the tables when the tables are placed on dirt surfaces as the yellow will "blend" into the brown. Handlers are often befuddled as to why their usually consistent dog avoided the table when the simple fact is that the dog just didn't see it.

Dog safety is the most important consideration for any dog agility handler, and clubs need to be paying more attention to the colors of the trial sites where their equipment will be used. Based on that information, clubs need to choose equipment colors that will help the dogs see the equipment easily and quickly.

Other dog sports need to take dogs' color blindness into consideration as well. From flyball to obedience competitions, teams can gain an edge by paying attention to contrasting colors from the dog's perspective.

Understanding Color Vision in Dogs is Important for All Types of Training

Even when training a house dog, this knowledge is helpful. If asking a house dog to learn to fetch a stick on winter brown grass, it will be harder for the dog to see where the stick is thrown. Instead, use a toy in shades of blue on that winter brown.

For the house dog, it might be wise to make the dog's "things" color contrasting to the environment. From dog bowls to beds to toys, having them visually stand out to the dog will make them easier for the dog to identify and might make them more engaging to the dog.

This information becomes a bit obvious once it is pointed out, but paying attention to contrasting colors in dog training can help your dog learn faster and stay safer as you both play together.

What Colors Do You Think About?

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: Why do dogs hate orange if they can’t see it? It can’t be a coincidence that dogs generally dislike the hi-vis jacket and bag of the postman and, in particular, my orange broom, can it?

Answer: I suspect your dogs dislike those things not because of the color, but because of what they do. Some of my readers have said their dogs love orange. And dogs can SEE orange, just not in the same way we can. It will have a different hue to them.

Question: I have a step on my car to make it easier for my dog to get in and out of the car. The step is black and so is the blacktop. Should I paint the step white?

Answer: If he isn't having trouble seeing where the steps are, I wouldn't worry about it. If he seems unable to see them to navigate them safely, then I would consider painting them something to contrast with the blacktop or gray concrete.

Question: What is the best color to wear to a dog's agility trial with black floors and cream walls?

Answer: I would consider a lighter blue if I were running in that venue.

Question: What would be the best color for the handler to wear during field trials, such as duck retrieval?

Answer: In field sports, you are also needing to deal with the human color spectrum as guns are involved, I believe. I would ask your fellow competitors. Discussions about what colors dogs see has entered into all canine sports, and I am sure there are competitors in the field who have given this some thought. You most certainly first and foremost want to be visible to other hunters.

Comments

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on April 01, 2017:

I was just at a beach about a little over a week ago. I think black would work very well depending on whether the beach is surrounded by black rocks or dark water. The beach I was on was sand colored with a blue ocean. I, personally, would choose a toy with different colors in it. My ball was blue and yellow, I believe. Blue worked great on the sand and yellow worked great in the water. I usually choose blue and yellow toys if possible, although there's nothing wrong with other colors. It's just easier for you dog to find a toy that has better color contrast.

james wilson on April 01, 2017:

What colour ball is best to play with on a beach. Ive just got orange, black, and white and black like a football off kong. Which would be best please.?

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 28, 2017:

That is very interesting information to know. I am sure that my cousin's wife who not only trains but also shows her dogs knows this information. I did not realize that dogs have better night vision than we humans. I had heard that about cats.

Lisa on December 16, 2016:

Thank you for writing this article. Preparing for a puppy in the new year, I wondered if colours would impact on some of the training tools so I decided to do a little research. You have done that already! This is so useful and I hope I make a better, informed choice when I make my purchases now. Thank you again.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on October 03, 2016:

That's a good question. Blue could be a real problem if the water is swimming pool blue. Depending on the water and the environment (Green grassy land? Brown earth? Blue sky? Gray sky? Blue water? Dark brown lake water?) I would contrast to the environment based on the color chart in the article (greens are yellow to a dog and reds are shades of brown.) Black might work, depending on how dark the water is. Yellow might be great depending on if the water is blue or greenish or brownish. A bumper with two different contrasting colors might be great - say black and yellow or black and bright orange. I think the color of the water, sky and surrounding ground at your dock diving venue would play a huge role in determining your color.

Carrie Morris on October 03, 2016:

What would be the best color for Dock Diving toys/bumpers

bindismom on June 15, 2016:

I think some dogs see differently than most....I have a double merle aussie and she will ALWAYS choose a pink toy over any other colour. This happens everywhere, no matter the ground colour or surface....

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on June 01, 2016:

I've seen my dogs run right by yellow tables on green turf. That would be yellow on yellow to the dog. They eagerly get on the table, so it was strange to see them run by, turn and look like, "Hey! There's a table there!"

Maria on June 01, 2016:

This could explain why my dog acted like he didn't see the table in competition. Our table at home is dark blue.

A very helpful article. Thanks!

JLS on May 17, 2016:

I've been doing agility since the mid-90's and have competed in 4 venues. I've lived through two-toned tunnels and solid color tunnels, striped bars and bare bars, and equipment of all kinds of colors, shapes, and sizes. Generally, I've found that the dogs don't have a lot of trouble getting safely through the course no matter what the equipment looks like. The equipment color issue is usually a bigger concern for the handlers, particularly AKC competitors. As long as the dog has been reasonably well trained and can distinguish the obstacle from the background, it will get through the course just fine.

Jack Gabel on May 08, 2016:

thanks - often wondered why flagging the location of planted birds for bird-dog training with blaze orange trail tape seemed not to effect the drill - dog scents and points regardless of orange marker which is for the trainer to know where the bird is planted - I'll try finding a blue/yellow training/trialing outerwear - don't hunt, but do have a blaze orange vest for trialing where live fire is involved - rarely - we usually blank the birds - thanks again for the informative article

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on March 08, 2016:

I think it would depend on what the ground the ramp was sitting on looked like. If it's dark asphalt, then the lighter color would be better. :)

Joyce on March 08, 2016:

I am thinking of buying a ramp for my dogs to get into my grey truck. It is available in beige or grey. Would it be easier then for my dogs too see the lighter color/ beige since it is a contrast?

Daniel Robinson20 on February 12, 2016:

grood post

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on February 03, 2016:

Clean Run has some dog toys made specifically for dogs' vision. You can Google "Clean Run Agility" to find them. I love their Lotus ball treat ball. My baby sheltie Aenon LOVES his.

Brian McDowell from USA on February 03, 2016:

This irks me even with dog toys. Nothing like having nothing but green or red balls to choose from when I often play on a grassy field...Can a man who loves his dog get stark white, or at least yellow or blue or something with white and black markings?

I even notice this when playing at home. His FAVORITE ball is a foam baseball that's white and black. He can see it very well. His too-big-for-him-but-soft toy soccer ball he sees easily. It's just...too big for him to carry (hits the ground when he walks). I also have a blue and yellow ball and take both depending on what surface we're on.

Why dog toy makers make things in colors hard for DOGS to see? It just makes me SMH.

I try to keep my clothes in mind, though I'm guilty of the football jersey sometimes. I try to wear black or white on some part of me.

Lisa VanVorst from New Jersey on February 03, 2016:

This was a very interesting article. I have had dogs my whole life and always thought they only see in black and white. Thanks for the info.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on February 03, 2016:

Debbie L. Very interesting as where I trial, we are always indoors on horse arena dirt or soccer turf. When on dirt, the contacts get cleaned at each course build, and sometimes at each walk through. I am surprised that isn't done everywhere. I hope the exhibitors in the Pacific NW start pushing their clubs to pay attention to that safety detail. Sheltiemom...Thank you!! Yes, I do love Shelties. :)

sheltiemom on February 03, 2016:

Good job to those little shelties! Their intelligence and agility knows no bounds yet they are often underutilized.

Debbie L. on February 03, 2016:

One thing you didn't mention, that I've noticed here in the damp Pacific Northwest, is that when running on some dirt, the yellow contact areas often become nearly brown by the end of the day (or, especially, the end of a 3-day trial). Some arenas are worse than others, I think because some dirt has more clay in it. Even to me, the dirty yellow blends into the dirt and is hard to see. It's an issue for run-by's but also for discriminations (which almost always involve a contact). Maybe we should be paying more attention to cleaning contacts during a trial, in these circumstances?

Armi from Kuopio, Savo, Finland on February 02, 2016:

It's really strange how dogs can still easily recognize different colours even thought they're colour blind!!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on January 07, 2016:

Rachelle,

Now that I have this information, it is fun to watch the dogs struggle to see different colors. I have a soft flying disc that is blue on one side and yellow on the other. If it lands with the yellow side up, the dogs struggle to find it. If it lands with the blue side up, they see it quickly.

Dog toy makers are starting to make toy colors based on this information. The last toy I bought was made for dogs' vision and was blue and yellow.

Rachelle W on January 07, 2016:

Great article - it also explains why my girl can't find her red Kong when it's next to the tan baseboard. :)

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on December 29, 2015:

There appears to be some debate about a dog's ability to see "bright" colors. That said, I would reconsider your Packer's shirt if you are running on soccer turf or green grass. If you are running on dirt, you might consider green. It would be a dark yellow on brown. You also have to take into consideration the walls too. I love my Patriot's shirt, and I do wear it if I am not running against a cluttered background. The blue stands out. I saw some old throwback (WAY throwback) Green Bay jersey's on line that were a blue with a yellow number. They were cool looking. I think they must date back to the 20s or 30s.

Personally, I find my dogs see me best if I am in black (as long as the venue has good lighting). I am slowly switching my agility wardrobe to more black and dark blue.

As for tie dye, that would probably depend on the tie dye colors and on the background. Tie dye would not work well against a cluttered background. I think a blue tie dye would work well for most venues (except for blueish/green soccer turf).

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. :)

Eden Le Bouton on December 29, 2015:

I didn't know dogs are color blind. I compete in agility and I always choose bright clothes because I thought that would enable my dog to see me better. Unfortunately for me, I have to ditch my green and gold Green Bay Packer t-shirts. Lots of people wear tie-dyes. Is a shirt like that confusing to a dog?

Jemuel from Cebu, Philippines on December 18, 2015:

Now I know that dogs can also see colors. I thought they can only see black-and-white. Well anyway, thanks for the good hub! I learned so much from it.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on December 18, 2015:

Thank you for taking the time to drop by, read and comment!!! You have a great day too. :)

Linda Robinson from Cicero, New York on December 18, 2015:

This is a remarkable hub, really enjoyed it. This is the ideal and helpful, informative one of the best I have ever read about your beloved pets. So nice meeting you. I look forward to reading more of your work. Enjoy your day. Talk to you again. Linda

Bonnie on July 20, 2015:

Since it will be hot, I may choose white. This color stuff is great for agility handlers, gives us a better understanding of WHY our dog may not be performing as well as they do in practice. If Friday doesn't go so well, I'll try blue on Saturday.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on July 17, 2015:

Green is actually a shade of yellow to dogs. I usually wear blue, black or white. I run on soccer turf a lot, and I also pay attention to the surrounding walls of the soccer facility. In most facilities, my dogs seem to do best when I am in black or a bright blue. I have been changing out my agility wardrobe to blues and blacks. :)

Bonnie on July 17, 2015:

I have an agility trial next weekend on grass. what is the best color to wear on green grass. thanks.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on April 20, 2015:

LOL!! Yes white on snow is probably not the best bet.

Linda Boggs on April 20, 2015:

Thanks! we're outdoors all year in alaska so white will blend into snow (no walls) so white doesn't seem like the best bet, but the yellow blue combination sounds good. sound show up good year round. great tips about clothing too!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on April 19, 2015:

I would personally use a light blue with white bars with darker blue and yellow tape. Reds will be browns, which might blend in with the sand. Depending on the color of the walls, white would be a good contrast with two shades of blue (light and dark) and yellow tape. JMO. :)

Linda Boggs on April 17, 2015:

from reading your article if I were to paint my PVC jumps a color that I could use both in summer and in winter, when they might be set up on snow, I would want to go with a blue color probably? Do you agree? I train on sand in an outdoor riding arena

BODYLEVIVE from Alabama, USA on May 29, 2014:

My pit bull will pick toys that are red to play with other than any other color besides yellow. His first toy was yellow and he loved that toy, always played with it. We bought other toys that were different in color like white, blue green, etc. and he acted like he didn't see them. I bought him a red fire hydrant and he only plays with the yellow and red toys. My other dog is a lab and she'll play with anything no matter the color.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on April 17, 2014:

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Stelling21!!! I see far less "why didn't he see that?" mistakes in our handling since I started paying attention to my clothing color. It's been really interesting.

Stelling21 on April 17, 2014:

Thank you. I knew that dogs were colour blind but didn't think about the handler clothing aspect. Now that I have, I can see the pattern emerging as to why my changes of clothing may have possibly affected our results. An interesting concept worthy of future note.

Evelina on March 25, 2014:

cool, never knew that

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on March 02, 2014:

I found it interesting when doing the research as well wiserworld. Thanks for dropping by!!

wiserworld on March 02, 2014:

This is really interesting. Never knew dogs had such a different color spectrum than we do. Thanks for sharing.

gryphon on February 02, 2014:

dogs are more aware of their world, olfactory, audio, and the ability to see motion than "humans".

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on January 30, 2014:

Congrats on your first dog!!! What fun you get to have learning all about this amazing species. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. :D

Brenda Thornlow from New York on January 30, 2014:

Enjoyed this article! I'm a first time dog owner and loving it. I try to read as much about dogs as possible and learning something new everyday. They're incredible animals and I've grown such love for them since owning one. Thank you for this!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on January 21, 2014:

Interesting, Mr. Archer. I would suspect white would "pop" more than orange, especially on brown grass or dirt. Orange and white should pop on green grass though. Thanks for dropping by. :)

Mr Archer from Missouri on January 21, 2014:

I read in the comments where someone's dog(s) see orange. I have a Lab that I have trained for ring and field and have noticed that when I use the orange training dummy he has to use his nose more than when I use the white one. So, as a result I tend to use only the orange one when training and the white one just for fun.

Great article and very well thought out and put together.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on August 11, 2013:

Thank you for dropping by Doodlehead!! I've been watching my dogs since writing this article, and it's been interesting to see their color choices. They can really struggle to fetch toys that blend in to the surface based on their color vision.

Doodlehead from Northern California on August 11, 2013:

I have tried to get my dog to prefer to fetch a red "squeeky" but he prefers to play fetch with a yellow tennis ball.

Based on this, part of the problem (and it seems to play out) is he can't see the red squeek toy as easily when I throw it. He can't find it as easily either. Interesting.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on August 07, 2013:

Thank you barbat for dropping by and reading!!! A lot of very talented dog trainers are only now beginning to take into account color in their training. I know since doing this article, I'm starting to gather a blue agility wardrobe for trials, and I bought a lot of blue toys for my new puppy. It's interesting to think about for sure.

B A Tobin from Connnecticut on August 07, 2013:

Since I read this, it made sense why one of my dogs didn't respond as well...she couldn't see me well. I am no pro by far so this was a very interesting piece of insight for me!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on August 02, 2013:

I found that shocking myself!!!

Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on August 02, 2013:

I may have to shock the border collie world with your other list of top 5 agility dogs!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on August 02, 2013:

LOL!!! BCs certainly are great, great dogs. Thanks for dropping by and sharing. :)

Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on August 02, 2013:

I like this so much I shared it with my border collie friends on Facebook - Now we will see the border collies at the top of the Agility ranking where they should be! lol

B A Tobin from Connnecticut on April 29, 2013:

Always love your hubs...while never got involved in competitions with my dogs, I never knew what it entailed. Wow what an interesting set of hubs I intend to read more as I have time. Thanks agilitymach and those corny puns are fun, I made it by accident! lol take care and write more!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on April 28, 2013:

LOL barbat!! Intended or not, it was a good pun. :) Thanks for dropping in to read!!!

B A Tobin from Connnecticut on April 28, 2013:

Gee this was an eye-opening experience..no pun intended, really!

I really thought the spectrum was in grey tones prior to this article! Very interesting and thank you!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on April 28, 2013:

I absolutely think color does have a role in some of those cases. When I play with toys that would be more visible for dogs, they easily find them when playing chase. If the only toy I have available is say red ball and we're playing on a field of winter-dead, brown, short grass, the dogs easily lose it on the brown grass. Red is just brown to dogs. :) I try to buy fetch toys with two different contrasting colors if possible - say blue and yellow. It's not always possible, but I sure see a difference with those toys.

Thanks for reading and commenting!!

Molly Quinn from New Mexico on April 28, 2013:

Interesting hub! I'd always thought about this with horses, as I've had the experience of trying to get over badly painted fences, but I hadn't thought about how a different visible color spectrum could affect dogs, too. I can't help but think of how many people I've met who mention that their dog is "ADD" when playing and will simply desert a toy they were in the midst of chasing. I wonder if color has a role in some of those cases?

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on February 28, 2013:

You're so right Nature. Even if it's just for fun training, it helps so much if the dog can see the training props better. Thanks for dropping by!!

Dawn Ross on February 28, 2013:

This is very interesting information. I didn't realize there was so much to think about with agility training. While I want to agility train my Aussie mix Pierson just for fun (I don't plan on entering competitions) this is still good to know. Thanks! :0)

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on February 26, 2013:

Interesting. The black and white sure does make good sense. I've had others say their dogs like orange too, so there is something about the blend of colors that makes up orange that might pop for the dogs. Thanks for commenting!!

Steveb on February 26, 2013:

As a retriever field trialer, we use orange bumpers when we want to hide them in green grass, white and black bumpers when we want dogs to see them in the air, and white and black clothing so the dog can see us at a distance when handling them on blind retrieves.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on February 11, 2013:

Thanks for dropping by Sallybea!!!! :)

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on February 05, 2013:

I found this a fascinating read, thanks for sharing.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on January 23, 2013:

Yes, ETS affects so many dogs. I have a few students whose dogs have ETS. One has managed to compensate tremendously well and has three MACHs now. The other is really struggling. Recognizing how vision affects dogs, especially in fast moving sports, is so important, and it's great that people are starting to give it attention. Thanks for dropping by!!!

Cynthia from SLC UT USA on January 23, 2013:

Very interesting.. I've never thought of what colors I wear in agility arenas, something to think about. Dogs nowadays can have vision problems, as is seen with the Early Takeoff Syndrome more and more dogs are seeming to have anymore. (I love the white sheltie btw.)

Agilesibe on January 10, 2013:

Not sure why, but orange has been the favorite color of all 3 of my dogs. I have had the same football in 3 different colors & all 3 would go crazy over the orange one, but never play with the other colors. My current competition boy is blind in 1 eye, so I have spent a lot of time researching how to give myself the best visibility in training & in the ring.

Jeff Harrow on January 09, 2013:

My dog sees 'orange'......no question about it. And it's his favorite color.

Orange items from around the house are constantly ending up in his doggie bed. Orange pillows, orange toys, orange balls, orange frisbees, orange sneakers, orange t-shirts.......he claims them for his own.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on January 08, 2013:

Thanks alexadry!!! I appreciate the vote up. :)

Adrienne Farricelli on January 08, 2013:

A very interesting read! I like the chart showing how dogs see colors; it's very effective. I don't compete in agility, but I can see how colors can affect dogs in different dog sports and many training scenarios. Voted up.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on January 08, 2013:

Thank you Linda!!! I really appreciate that. :) I've very glad you came by to read it. :)

LindaM on January 08, 2013:

Great work done here and thanks so much for posting to give all of us that do agility a better understanding of how important color is, not only in the equipment, but especially in what we are wearing. Good Job girl. Wichita Falls.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on January 04, 2013:

I thought it was black and white for years too. I think it's cool they see color. Thanks for stopping by!!!

Jef from Philippines on January 04, 2013:

All my life I thought that dogs only see black and white. It's just after after reading this article that I learned that they also see other colors - just less than what most people see.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on December 19, 2012:

Thank you Faith! I find dog's color vision very interesting. I appreciate your vote. :)

Faith A Mullen on December 19, 2012:

Very interesting hub (voted up!). I was just wondering this week which colors dogs can see as I have heard before that they are colorblind, but did not know much beyond that.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on December 18, 2012:

Thank you so much wetnose. This is something I heard a while ago but didn't realize how important it was to my dog until about a year ago. Now I'm trying to get a bunch of blue and black agility tee shirts to wear at trials, but what am I going to do with all of my red, green and brown tees. :) Fortunately, I always wear blue jeans to trial in.

wetnosedogs from Alabama on December 18, 2012:

I didn't realize dogs are color blind. I learn so much from your hubs and it is always fun to watch your videos.