We were in Jasper last week with one of our Home Dog Training clients and his Chow, Rocky. We had been working with them for several years and stop by from time to time just to check in and help them with any new problems or situations that pop up. Rocky was one of our early clients when we started over eleven years ago and we first met him when he was a puppy. Most of the training and socialization instruction we provided our client was based on the situation at that time. Now, Rocky is an old man and lives in an entirely different world. Our goal on last week’s visit was to help our client understand Rocky’s older perspective and how to properly and lovingly deal with that.
What drives me nuts is when someone says that since they can’t go on long walks with their dog anymore or since he can’t jump into bed with them, they are taking him to the shelter or putting him down. Our dogs have given us unconditional love, respect, and trust their entire lives and are still willing to give us everything in their older years. We simply need to adjust some of our expectations so that our relationship with our dog continues to stay strong.
The following are some of the suggestions that we provided our client for Rocky:
- Don’t have strangers quickly approach Rocky or approach him from his “blind side”. As Rocky ages, his sight and physical agility start to decrease. This takes away his ability to adjust for approaching people and his ability to back off or physically posture. With this option gone, he will naturally revert to nipping as a tool to tell people to back off and let him check them out.
- Start to decrease the length of walks and take them in the cool (as cool as it can be in Georgia) of the morning or the cool of the late evening. Try to find more grassy areas for Rocky’s walk and minimize any vertical pathways. This allows my client and Rocky to continue the enjoyment of the walk time while minimizing the physical stress brought on because of his increasing age.
- Try to play the same games he once played with Rocky. Even though Rocky is getting older, it doesn’t mean that his brain has slowed down. If the games involve a great deal of physical activity, decrease the amount of activity.
- Age can bring on the need to go to the bathroom more often. Since my client works during the day, I suggested bringing in a dog walker to let him out in the middle of the day and to provide him with some calm play time.
- Try to cut down on the amount of trips and car rides with Rocky. He can’t jump in the back seat as easily as he could when he was a puppy and may not be able to get in a comfortable position. I suggested a doggie house sitter for longer trips.
- Cut down on the treats and goodies that Rocky used to get. Since he is older and slower, the treats will begin to add additional, unneeded weight. This puts extra stress on his joints; possibly leasing to arthritis.
- Still give him all the love you want. When you pet him, make it more of a stroking action. This makes sure that you don’t “hit a soar” and hurt him.
Just like us, our dogs age and become old. We need to understand that it is our duty to make their later years as happy for them as their entire life has enriched ours.
Please call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Jasper Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Jasper Georgia.