Remember way back when your faithful old friend was a crazy puppy?
Chewing up your shoes, peeing on the carpet, and wiggling around baths and pedicures?
Now that he's a mature gentleman, he knows how to behave properly. And he sleeps a lot more.
So what gives when he starts reverting back to his puppyhood mishaps?
We all know our dogs will age, and that eventually we'll have to say goodbye. (I know, no one likes to talk about it, but it's just a fact of pup-parenting.)
You expect certain changes as your fiesty little spitcracker turns into a golden girl — changes in appearance, or stamina, for example.
But there are plenty of behavioral shifts happening as well. Here's what you can expect as your guy or gal becomes a senior citizen.
Are common events like leaving for work in the morning or thunderstorms leaving your dog in more of a tizzy than usual?
It’s not uncommon for your dog's fears to return, increase or even develop for the first time as he ages. As his long-time companion, you are his comfort. Ease his anxiety by maintaining routine ans structure as much as possible.
Try leaving the TV or radio on when he's home alone so he feels like he has some company. And continue to teach him new things and explore new areas to keep his mind and body engaged.
It’s been years since the last indoor accident, but as your dog matures it’s common for accidents to resurface. (I know. Yay.)
As your dog ages, she may not be able to hold her bladder as long as she could in her prime years. Go back to your housetraining lessons, and re-teach her where and how you want her to go. Focus on reinforcing the positive — she probably knows she's not supposed to go inside; she just can't help it.
Also, remember that older dogs (like older people) need more frequent bathroom breaks. Try to adjust your schedule accordingly.
Remember that time when sweet little Fifi ate your favorite Italian leather shoes? Guess what — those days might be coming back.
As we mentioned earlier, dogs can experience increased anxiety as they age. Chewing is a stress reliever. Like peeling the labels off beer bottles.
Give your dog new toys to chew on, and rotate them frequently to keep them exciting. Just like you did when he was a puppy, praise him when he chews on the toy instead of your shoe, and give him lots and lots of extra love.
Getting old is a drag. But most destructive behavior is just your dog's way of telling you he needs something.
Be patient, and try to figure out what's causing the problem. Most of the time, these behaviors can be addressed by a few simple tweaks to your daily routine (and a new toy or two).
It is possible to grow old gracefully.
Your dog will show you how.