Old Dog New Behavior

Share your experience and tell us how using positive reinforcement training methods has changed yours and your dogs' lives.

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ckranz
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Location: San Diego CA

Old Dog New Behavior

Post by ckranz » Wed May 07, 2014 2:00 am

A few weeks ago my 11 year old Akita Mix Chloe started showing signs of severe anxiety...and not just when we left home. She would hear children screaming in a local daycare and begin pacing and crying. I work from home now and even my presence did nothing to calm her. She was so terrified she was afraid to go into the back yard...even if I was out there with her. At night she would pacing and continually crying waking us several times a night. Needless to say after loosing a weeks sleep we consulted our vet.

Walking is also becoming more and more difficult in her advanced years. She is dragging her back toes tot he point of scraping her nails to the quick. With her above anxiety to allow her to potty I have to take her on walks around the block as she at times will be afraid to go in the back to potty.


Just a little more background about Chloe. She has her CGC and has been a working therapy dog for going on 9 years. She works hard and loves her visits, whether it is with children with Autism, developmentally disabled adults or seniors with dementia there are very few dogs that I have seen or met that is as calm and unshakable as Chloe. Nothing traumatic has ever occured on any visit to lead to the above behaviors.

After much testing and such our vet has diagnosed her with 2 conditions: Canine Cognitive Disorder (Doggie Dementia) and Degenerative Myleopathy (slow degradation of the nerves that control the back legs and hips)

For the CCD she is now taking Xanax at night which has helped immensely. She is able now to get a good night's rest (as are we). While she is still at time panicky about the backyard, working from home allows me the ability to provide regular walks for pottying. Getting booties is helping to protect the toe nails and we have no more walks coming home a bloody mess.
We do suspect though that as her conditions progress that she will all too soon be unable to work...not because of temperament, but the physical ability just won't be there. Its really sad as she so loves her work. When we started she would run around with children...now they circle her and pet her and teller her how cute she is. She will continue to work for as long as she can.

Its been a while since I have posted so I will also update you on Khan the wonder dog....He has been an immense success from a fear aggressive potential biter to a retired therapy dog. We had to retire him earlier this year as he stopped enjoying the visits as much as when we started. After working with so many small animals that burnout after a while it was not that much of a surprise. I am just so proud that he was able to bring joy to many seniors. He also completed his CAX title in lure coursing. He has really been a true blessing.

and Apollo at age 6 began a career in flyball and has completed a few Agility titles and earned his FBch title a few weeks ago (He and khan are litter mates). So now the boys are 8 and my girl is 11. Apollo is also showing early signs of Kidney Disease so he's on a special diet, gets filtered water, and special homemade kidney safe treats. We had to drop 1 activity (agility) in order to minimize dehydration issues during weekend activities. He likes flyball more so he's happier.

With all my dogs seniors now I keep asking where all the time went. While I have have had perhaps the most work with Khan, its been well worth the memories we have created and continue to create. While senior health issues are creeping into our lives, a good diet and adequate exercise have kept them very very fit...Even Chloe still gets an AM run with mom with her booties on (down to 1/2 mile now) She does not look like an old lady dog (until you see her walk a bit).

I could not have asked for a better trio,

JudyN
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Re: Old Dog New Behavior

Post by JudyN » Wed May 07, 2014 2:08 am

They are lucky to have such a caring owner - and it's wonderful that they (and therefore you) have done so much to help others :D
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Sweetie's Human
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Re: Old Dog New Behavior

Post by Sweetie's Human » Wed May 07, 2014 3:35 am

As much as it's sad that they are ageing, I found myself smiling as I read your post. If I had to be an old dog, I'd want to be in such a good home, being comforted.

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Nettle
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Re: Old Dog New Behavior

Post by Nettle » Wed May 07, 2014 9:39 am

Good to hear from you, CK :D
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

ckranz
Posts: 1028
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:18 pm
Location: San Diego CA

Re: Old Dog New Behavior

Post by ckranz » Wed May 07, 2014 10:50 am

Nettle wrote:Good to hear from you, CK :D
Good to see that you are still around too. I hope all is well with you and yours

jacksdad
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Re: Old Dog New Behavior

Post by jacksdad » Wed May 07, 2014 10:57 am

welcome back, glad to hear Khan is doing well.

ckranz
Posts: 1028
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:18 pm
Location: San Diego CA

Re: Old Dog New Behavior

Post by ckranz » Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:22 am

Its amazing how fast DM (Degenerative Myelopathy) can cause a down turn. I have heard its closely related to ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Chloe has started to show more difficulty in walking and so now is unable to enjoy the old morning brisk walk. She still gets out twice a day for a slow walk around our block to potty but even that is getting more and more difficult. Recently we had to order a special harness called a "Help Em Up Harness" It basically has 2 pieces that connect, a standard chest style harness and what my wife refers to as her panties. The bands for each going across the top of the back have handles to allow handlers to provide more support at both the shoulders and the rump. Its great for helping her into the car. We even got a special leash attachment which connects at both ends to try and support her as she is walking.

Chloe is not fond of the panties, but she is slowly getting used to them. She is wearing the harness for 5-10 minutes a night to acclimate to it, and I have started taking her on walks with it. Slowly she is acclimating to it but its making me much more observant of her decline. She is a sweet girl who has truly blessed my life with her tolerance of everything. Being with people is what she loves more than anything, especially kids. We know we are moving to the ending stages of her condition. But each day she is a reminder to me to go out and enjoy every precious moment.

I think tomorrow I may take her to the beach. She would love a romp in the sand and she may not have ability to romp much longer.

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