This week, we’re talking about the need to have a good understanding of dog behavior, especially those issues particularly pertaining to old dogs. Experience with behavior and training is a definite must because you WILL be challenged! Even if you think you know it all, despite how many pets you’ve had throughout your life, there will always be something new to learn.
Most old animals will have behavior issues ranging from anxiety to incontinence to dementia and even forms of aggression, and if they do not arrive at the sanctuary with any of these, they may develop them. Dementia and housetraining issues are prime examples. Each pet must be worked with to manage or eliminate the issues. Because they are seniors, some of these behaviors may have been with them all of their lives, making it difficult to resolve. Lacie, for instance, does not like to be left alone. She paces, howls, and often defecates (and paces through it). She was accustomed to living with an elderly woman who rarely left the house, and now she cannot adjust to being alone despite having two canine friends with her.
Many dogs will arrive who have had no obedience training at all. They don’t know what sit, stay, come, etc. means and they will need to be trained. All of this takes time and commitment. These basic communications cues are vital to keeping them safe but it can be challenging to train old dogs because some may be deaf and/or blind.
Are you ready for these kinds of challenges?