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Getting snippy

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Getting snippy
  • Angel has been getting snippy with the other dogs lately. If she is sleeping and on of them comes up to her she will growl and nip at them. Like a warning.  The vet has confirmed her sight and hearing are getting bad so I'm wondering if she is being startled. I've been keeping a close eye on her as we do have children in the house but she has never offered a growl or nip towards any of them. I'm so confused...I don't know what to do so I would love for some advice and opinions.

  •  Where is her bed?  Make sure it is in a quiet spot where she can't be disturbed.  Teach the kids to leave her alone while she is on her bed.

  • 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.

  • Thanks so much, the older kids don't bug her, they no better. I am just trying to work with my 2 yr old about waiting until I know she knows we are there to go up to her. I never thought about scent training. I will definitely get some stuff to work with her on that. I want to get a sofkrate for her so she has a den to go in, she likes to have someplace to go Inside of that is hers. I just need to find someone who has one they don't need. I cannot at this time afford one...I don't have a bed for her right now either. She does lay in a certain place though.

     

    When we go to bed at night she sleeps by the door, she likes it there. When I get up I do some stomping around as I'm getting stuff together to go downstairs and that gets her up and ready to go downstairs. The stairs are the only thing here she could fall on and she has those mastered. I feed her before any of the other dogs because she is very possesive over her food, she's not with treats or toys though fortunately. 

     

    I will definitely take your advice. I will try to find some dog beds and a krate for her (Leave it open not closed to give her somewhere to rest. Thanks so much for your advice.

  •  You can do it with just an old sheet folded over.... it's not as good as a nice cozy enclosed den, but it's just a way of claiming a spot for her and making sure other don't encroach on it.  Just so she can feel that she has a spot she can retreat to that is HERS.

  • Mygirlcricket
    ...I don't have a bed for her right now either. She does lay in a certain place though

    Doesn't ahve to be a 'bed' -- just take an old blanket or piece of one or a turkish towel and fold it up and put it inside a pillowcase -- it becomes portable and easily washed that way.  Like I said - you can *make* something pretty darned easy -- and Chuffy's idea of throwing a sheet or something over a piece of furniture (so it has "walls" essentially) can truly rock for an elderly dog.

    The oint of putting the scent on a toy isn't for possession -- but you can take a tennis ball outside, with a dab of "her scent" on it and TOSS IT and she can FIND it by scent.  Start by "throwing" it only a couple of inches away ... and increase it. 

    The stair thing -- you're identifying the scent with a "thing" --  for example -- "down" because "down stairs" ANYWHERE -- by the 2d floor down to the first or by  the outside ones.  And if you have to travel with this dog you just helped increase how easily the dog can trasnfer skills from one place to another. But eventually as the cognitive functions begin to fail the stairs she may have "mastered" yesterday may be the stairs she can't quite remember *where* they are tomorrow.

    It's also super helpful as the sight/hearing continues to fail -- cos eventually they can run into walls and it's heck if you have to move furniture.  But the scents can help the aged one grow older more gracefully if that make sense.

    You the dog sees light/dark well -- using a flashlight as a "clicker" can help "call" a dog who can't hear you any more. 

     

  •  Thanks again everyone for your advice I really appreciate it an will take everything into consideration. How about a large box on it's side with a blanket?

  • NOW you're cooking!!  And if you stop by a place that sells appliances/refrigerators, often they'll ahve really HEAVY duty ones for free.  Cut it down carefully with a razor blade.

    THEN cover it with contact paper (usually they sell it in grocery stores -- maybe $4 for a roll =either match your room or put a woodgrain on it) -- that makes it easier to wipe it off -- cover both the outside AND inside.  Or you can look for leftover wallpaper and use THAT to cover it.  Shoot -- that's all MY dogs ever HAD for a bed until recently.  Particularly if you are in a northern area it can cut down on drafts!!

  •  When I was a kid, my family always used boxes on their side lined with newspaper for puppies, (because newspaper is a great insulator).  Nothing wrong with a box-on-its-side at all! Smile

  •  Thanks! I will go ahead and get a box, I do have some wall paper to use and some nice soft baby blankets I don't use anymore because they are stained up. :)

  • When Penny's eyesight first started to go she got very snippy and anxious about some things that hadn't bothered her much before. Specifically, lots of movement in a small space and kids putting their fingers near her eyes. The former would make her run and hide and the latter would make her snap. When she was younger a little girl accidentally poked her in the eye, so that might explain her nervousness and why it was just kids she was worried about. Anyway, I'm very careful to tell kids that they can pat her but just pat her sides and stay away from her face. This has pretty much gone down the drain lately as she'll stick her head in their lap and gaze up at them and they can't help stroking her head. So now I tell them to stroke the top of her head if they like, but mind her eyes. She's fine if their hands stay behind her eyes and she hasn't snapped in years. Then again, I think she can barely see their hands coming these days.

    Penny is still very nervous around doorways if other dogs are around. I think she's worried they will step on her or jostle her. She has learnt she can hold back and wait for the other dog to go through and then she has a clear run. Just gotta make sure I remember to hold the gate/door for her.  

  •  She doesn't seem bothered by people messing around her eyes. The biggest thing is if someone startles her.