Posted : 5/16/2009 2:40:56 PM
You might invest in a couple of baby gates -- Even a piece of wooden lattice cut in 1/3's and then with a cheap piece of molding across the top and bottom you can have three baby gates for under $15 (a ruler-sized piece of furring screwed crosswise on the bottom can make 'feet' to stand on that can turn out of the way when you need them to). Hooks & eyes on each end can make it quickly convert into a 3-sided 'crate' for outside or just propping however many are needed up to provide a small barrier around a sleeping dog can be heaven-sent.
The kids truly need to be especially trained to NEVER approach her from the back or approach while she's asleep -- even if they don't "realize" it -- ALWAYS **assume** she's asleep. You will need to train the dog by stamping your foot nearby or something to not startle her awake. *sometimes* you can wake them with scent. Even a dab of mint oil or vanilla on the end of a stick waved in front of her nose (if you are reluctant to wave your hand near enough for her to get that scent thru a sleep=fogged brain).
Using scent to train her can have superb advantages for the dog losing sight and hearing. Get several essential oils (not cooking flavors - they won't last) and keep specific ones for specific things.
Have one scent - like peppermint or something 'positive' for a ball or toys if she's possessions oriented. Mark HER stuff with a dot of peppermint - even her bed. Doorways (the bottom of either side) should have their own scent. Stairs that go UP are a 3rd and Stairs that go down are a 4th and ***DANGER*** needs it's own scent (like the edge of a deck or someplace she can get hurt on or fall off of.)
Walk the property with her ON LEASH -- *count aloud* - no, she doesn't 'get' numbers, however, it will mark time for her so she knows approximately how far it is from the back door to "her tree" or whatever.
If you begin to associate scent with "stuff" she will begin to use her nose more.
It can honestly be fun with an older dog to teach them some elementary tracking -- it helps them feel less sorry for themselves and teaches them to open up that world of scent more than ever. And that YOU will help with it. But it can be kind of fun to help an old dog learn to do something they can get "WOW!!!" for ...
Do you have a light in the back?? (outside)? Try flicking a light on/off to help her know when you want her to come in.
Mostly you have to train the other dogs and the kids to leave the old one alone ... you sometimes have to re-organize things so the old one eats in peace, or isn't rushed or pushed aside by others. They get defensive if they feel put upon, either that or they'll just curl up in a little ball and go in the corner. I will, at times, violate my own "pack-order rule" in feeding simply because the old girl gets all confooooooosed and will stick her nose in somebuddy else's bowl and get snapped at.
They can be slow -- Foxy HATED being rushed -- it just plain wasn't gonna happen so stay theheck outa HIS way and he'll be there but it was on HIS terms. YOU can be in a freakin hurry if you wanna but you ain't goin NOWHERE wifout me so you can wait now or you can wait ther til *I* get there but I'm goin as fast as my liddle feets can go and if you don't like it sit on it!!
It's funny -- there is usually a part of their personality that will come out that maybe you never saw much before -- maybe a hair-trigger patience, maybe over-submissiveness -- all depends on the individual. You may want to encourage this dog to lie somewhere protected by a gate -- even if you have to make an attractive bed, or give treats there *alone* or something, just so the dog can go in there and be UN-disturbed. You don't have to "lock it up" -- just make it so no one inadvertently stumbles over them or wakes them suddenly.