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What do you do for your senior dogs?

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So, my girl will be 14 in April. She's got 2 speeds now - chasing the ball and sound asleep. But she's seeming restless, and I can't quite figure out what to do for her. She's pretty hard of hearing and seems a little slow to understand or pick up new information. The trick behaviors she can still do don't light her up the way they used to.


She'll pace around the living room, go outside, stand around and look puzzled and then come back in. I think this has been going on for awhile, but I was so focused on Buzz and his last few weeks that I didn't notice it.


She's currently being treated for a UTI, other than that she's healthy. I take her to the off leash park at least 3 times a week, and she's going after the ball with gusto.


Any suggestions for senior activities? Shuffleboard, canasta, trips to the casino? :rolleyes:



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She'll pace around the living room, go outside, stand around and look puzzled and then come back in.


Maybe she just misses him?


Mine enjoy using their noses a lot, so I'd suggest hiding yummy little things around the house or outside and letting her find them. Kessie also takes directions (pointing my finger) from me while searching, which turns it into a team sport.

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14 is a tough age- I suggest plenty of "inside" ball playing. Have you tried taking her around other border collies? Maybe she's just lonely. Is she you last one? Been there- done that.




I had Usher (on order) awaiting his birth when Migraine's cancer, I just couldn't let her live to "help me". It was her time. I had wished that they could bond, but I couldn't put up with her pain, so I let her go.....right before Usher came to me.


I was starting over. Migraine was 15 1/2. That's a good life. 14 is darn good. You know what? She will let you know. That how all my others did. I have this poem, they put it up at my vets. I hope it calms you.

IMO-I don't think it's time, but YOU are the kind keeper of your beloved pet.



A Dog's Prayer: Treat me kindly, my beloved

friend, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for your

kindness than mine. Speak to me

often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know

by the wagging of my

tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear. Keep my pan filled

with fresh water and food

for I cannot tell you when I am thirsty or hungry. And my friend, when

I am very old and I no

longer enjoy good health, do not make heroic efforts to keep me going.

I am not having any

fun. Please see that my trusting life is taken gently. I shall leave

this earth knowing that my fate

was always safest in your hands

Author unknown

Edited by Bo Peep
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Sounds like she does miss her "pack," sort of like an older man who's suddenly lost his wife. Doesn't make as easy an adjustment as a younger one might.


One other possibility... though it's scary. My neighbor's old girl went strange all at once. She lost almost all her hearing, her eyesight went downhill, and she would kind of "space out" sometimes, as if she forgot where she was, what she was doing. Seemed like a combination of physical decline and cognitive decline. She lived for about a year like this before the neighbor put her down.


Good luck!



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Thanks, guys. I don't think she's missing Buzz per se, DH and I have been noticing the confusion for a few months now.


Bo Peep, she gets a good 20 minutes or more of ball chasing daily, I don't think her old joints could take much more, especially the sudden twisty turny things she'd have to do in the house. And she's not our last one, we've still got Shoshone, our quirky girl.


She might be missing him, but it just doesn't seem that different from before he passed, we're just noticing it a lot more now that Buzz isn't our focus.


Mary, I worry about the cognitive decline a bit, but what are you gonna do? I'll look over my lists of tricks and see if there are a few easier ones I could either teach from scratch or refresh. She's always loved games.


Thanks, guys,



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There is a cognitive dysfunction medication available by prescription for dogs called Anipryl (brand name). You may want to have her evaluated. Minnie was on a version (for her Cushings Disease) I got from a compounding veterinary pharmacy, and it was very inexpensive to purchase that way. The generic is known as selegiline. I'm not aware of any dangerous side effects.

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Hi, Nancy,


I already spoke with my primary care vet, (as opposed to the internist, or the orthopedist, or the holistic . . .) and he wasn't a big fan. He said he'd used it, but didn't feel that it made that much difference in cognition.


I may take Ms. Sam to the holistic vet and see what they say. That will have to wait till after Christmas. In the meantime, I'll get some indoor games going. What she really does seem to like is walks in new territory, so we'll work those in as well.





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Don't know if anyone has suggested this yet, but Scooter loves to play hide and seek with his favorite toys (even though he's only four). Keeps the mind engaged and some moving around the house in search mode, but nothing too strenuous.


Hope you find something that works, either here or from your vet. :rolleyes:

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Poor Sam! I know that behavior you're talking about, our Calvin was like that when he was older. I think a holistic vet/acupuncturist would be a fantastic idea to see if there is anything they could do to get things working the best they can both physically and mentally, because, let's face it: western medicine mostly sucks for stuff like this. Getting older and losing some mental function and focus is inevitable, I think some holistic/eastern treatment can help gently align where needed, relax where needed, and get rid of restrictions on energy flows and pathways that are just going to happen at her age. Don't know much about dogs, but have seen this to be true in the older people I've known who undertake something different or in addition to typical western treatments.


As for stuff you could do together, maybe you could do lots of touching-based stuff to ground her and relieve any arthritis pain at the same time, I'm thinking maybe learning how to do canine massage sessions? I know Calvin just got so he loved for you to pet him forever, it's like he didn't worry about being confused while he was getting good pets and lovin'. I was just thinking if it was a routine, like once a day in the evenings at a set time or something, and a bit more structured than just normal pats, maybe combined with some grooming and/or positioning commands (sit, stand, paw, etc)? I don't know, maybe that's a weird idea. I get what you mean, though, about exercise being out, and training not really holding the spark it once did.


Good thoughts going to Sam and you as well Ruth! Oh, yeah, and Calvin was kind of bad, going outside and getting confused, generally confused restless, for about 6-7 months. Then he got on some supplements and stuff, and was much better for 1.5 years after that, so this could definitely get better again even if it is cognitive decline from aging.

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My sister's ancient BC is at least 14, if not older. She's totally deaf, failry blind, and arthritic, but boy does her nose work! She can't run around with the other dogs, but she loves nosing around the kithchen for her pills wrapped in balls of peanut butter :rolleyes: She also "hunts" for the milk in the strip cup in the mornings.


If it's not too frustrating for her (or you- keeping other dogs from eating it), maybe you could hide some food around for her to find.


Edited to fix age! My sister would hace the world's oldest dog otherwise!

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Shiro loved for me to chase her and try to get the toy from her. When she was younger she was fast and always won. We would go around the coffee table and then around the kitchen to the living and back. I would tell her "I am gonna pull your tail and then whadda ya gonna do? I am gonna pull your nose and then you wil be a noseless Border Collie"


She would bark in glee and it was great fun. I never managed to actually catch her as she would slip sideways and evade me. When she got tired she would flop down and her eyes would glow and I would throw myself down next to her and fuss over her. It was a ritual we did for years. We did it all the time.


As she got old and slow and her hips were stiff, she still loved to do that game...but she was slow and not as quick and I made *sure* she always still beat me. She never knew that but thought she still was fast as a rabbit. She would still throw herself on the ground and her eyes would glow. Out games went from 15 minutes when she was a youngin to maybe 2 minutes as a 15 yr old.


The last time we did that game was a few days before we put her down. I swear I still see her face now , bobbing in front of me, at the the time of the night we did that game....just waiting for me to get up and chase her....I know she still is here in spirit.


God, I miss that dog.....she was our child in more ways than one

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I know what my old guy likes and believe it or not he perks up watching the western channel and being able to ride in the truck.

and one thing he does not like is other dogs or pups they just annoy him. He wants to be the center of attention and to be honest he does get it

he has done his work an is in semi retirement.


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Ben, I might be able to try something like that. I can gate off the kitchen from Shonie, (resource guarder extraordinaire) and let Sam find her breakfast.


Diane, that description of you and Shiro playing just made me laugh. She sounds like a wonderful and fun dog. I'll see what we can do that's special just for her.


Alaska, phoof. I'd love a puppy, DH would love a puppy, but I'm pretty sure a puppy would kill me and him and then me again. And, we've got some other major issues to deal with over the next few months before we get serious about adding another dog. No more dogless homes for us!


Osioda, Sam only likes to go with me, and I take her when I can. DH may be able to be coaxed into taking her with him, but I don't think she'd like it as much.


Thanks, guys - a great way to start my day!



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For my old dogs, I've found that mental and physical excercise is the key. Sara at 16 still takes twice daily walks - albeit they are more strolls around the block instead of the miles-long walks of her prime. But I slowly stroll with her allowing her to smell all the messages left by other dogs or just lift her head and smell the air. She slowly trots around the backyard when the other dogs are out and lays on the deck in the sun. Katie has ostrich syndrome and in the backyard doesn't respond to a come command if she can't see me so she hides behind bushes, around the corner of the house, etc. - I send Sara to get her and Sara treats her like a sheep or goat and herds her to the house - Katie thinks it's fun. Sara's frisbee is now one of the small cloth ones for toy dogs - I sit in the floor or in the yard and toss it to her - about 5 feet and she can catch it w/o jumping and then bring it to me - the days of running and zooming through the air are long gone. Agility jumps are laid flat on the ground so she can "jump" over them, the tire is sitting on the ground so she can walk through, etc. - but she thinks she can still run the course. We still do item identification - I'll put out 3-5 items and then telll Sara one by one which to bring me. I'll put a treat in my hands and hide it behind my back and then put out both fists for her to find the one with the treat. I use a rubber brush with fat teeth meant for short haired dogs and rub it over her - must feel like a massage from her reaction. All of her activities are short in time - and she takes lots of naps which I think is normal for her age. She and the 17 yr old cat curl up together and sleep. I just try to remember I wouldn't expect an elderly person to walk miles, jump over hurdles, etc. so I can't expect it of an old dog.


I hope this gives you a few ideas regarding things to do with Sam.

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