There are so many things I love being a pet parent to Sugar. I love that I am witnessing Sugar’s senior life. Reading through some of the chapters of Decoding Your Dog, it made me realize what behavioral signs I missed and/or misunderstood.
Decoding Your Dog is a book by American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. There are 19 veterinary behaviorist contributing authors, wherein they examined problem behaviors and provided science-based explanations and solutions on why dogs behave as they do.
I found 2 chapters very interesting.
Chapter 9: All Dogs Need A Job: How to Keep Your Dog Happy and Mentally Healthy and
Chapter 14: Dogs with an AARF Card: Growing Old with Grace,
Old Dogs Should Learn New Tricks
Sugar has gone through lots of training that provided her a job, be a happy and healthy dog. Sugar loves to play. Play is always integrated in her everyday life. Decoding Your Dog noted that “all dogs require some form of enrichment” and should continue into senior life. Sugar’s white face is a clue that she’s a senior dog (12yrs old). Not many believe it, because of the way she plays. As a pet parent I am very happy she continues to be active and believe that I’ve done great tending and understanding her needs.
“On the outside, old dogs may show very few signs of age… what’s inside that counts.” a phrase that I always keep in my mind. From reading Decoding Your Dog, Chapter 14 by Garry Landsberg, it made me aware of CDS (Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome) can occur in senior dogs. CDS is a condition similar to human Alzheimer’s disease. The common signs of CDS is known as DISHA, which stands for Disorientation, Interactions, Sleep-Wake, House Soiling, and Activity Level.
I’m fortunate that Sugar does not exhibit any signs of CDS. Sugar has not lost her interest in social interaction and does not have any aggressive behaviors. I am always on a lookout for any unusual behaviors. CDS can not be cured but the process can be slowed down through environmental enrichment, drugs, diet, and natural supplements. Gary Landsberg listed drugs, supplements and diets that have been studied to have some value in improving clinical signs of CDS in dogs. In regards to diet, it was interesting to learn how diet containing medium chain triglycerides from vegetable oil (found in Purina One Vibrant Maturity) can significantly help improve learning and attention tasks. I will definitely do more research in regards to this oil ingredient.
I’m glad to know an enriched environment should focus “on social interaction in the form of play, reward based training, exercise and new and varied opportunities to explore and find food and treats.“
Enrich and Stimulating Environment Helps Old Dogs Learn New Tricks …
I believe that it’s a myth that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. One can teach a dog new tricks no matter what his/her age. I’m happy that Sugar is eager to learn new tricks. I’m always creating new challenging games/tricks for her to learn. As a Golden Retriever dog that loves balls, the game Tennis Balls Cupcakes is her favorite. Sugar loves to retriever toys and place it on her bed. From this, I taught Sugar to put away her toys: Sugar Cleans Up. Will discuss more about these game/trick on a later posts. Click the name of the game to view a short video.
From reading Chapter 14, I learned that I need be more observant and proactive on understanding Sugar’s behavior as a senior dog.”Your dog’s health and well-being depend on your noticing changes and speaking up. ” All in all, Chapter 14 delivers very useful information for any dog parent that has a senior dog.
Decoding Your Dog is a great resource book for a dog parent.
Full of beneficial information to understand common dog’s behavior.
Decoding Your Dog will enhance your understanding about your dog’s behavior.
Do you have an AARF Dog?
Does your senior dog exhibit behavior of CDS? Do you teach your senior dog tricks?
Disclaimer: I have written this post on behalf of BlogPaws Pet Blogger Network for Decoding Your Dog. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Decoding Your Dog, but Golden Woofs only shares information we fell is relevant to our readers.
Marie-Helene Racine says
Interesting book. I check if I can buy or on Amazon.com because I lived in Montréal Canada.
Ann Paws says
Great review! Shiner does not show any signs of CDS yet, and like Sugar she is still very active and doesn’t seem like a senior dog. I love your idea of the tennis balls in the cupcake thing. May have to give that a try sometime!
Cathy Connolly says
What a great review! I may have to get this one too. I agree with Ann, the tennis ball, cupcake game is a fantastic idea to entertain them!
Retro rover says
Great advice I have 3 dogs with an aarf card
2 brown dawgs says
Sounds like an interesting book. 🙂
Maggie Mae and Max says
Max and me are not seniors yet but mom still wants to get dis book. Thanks fur da review. 🙂 Happy Monday!
Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae and Max
Reilly & Denny says
That sounds like an excellent book – we will be looking for a copy.
Casey the Boxer says
Momma says that Cinderella has Doggieheimers. I never knew it had its own name. She spends a lot of time these days kind of staring off into space. She’ll go out to the backyard to potty, then look off into space like she just noticed something and wind up staring. She’ll furget she was supposed to potty until Momma reminds her a few times. It makes Momma sad to see her aging like this. 🙁
Frankie and Ernie says
We are sure that Sugar gets Plenty of Exercise fur BOTH Physically and Mentally. She is SO lucky to have YOU seeing to all of her needs in such a Loving way.
PeeS… we will have Sugar and YOU in our thoughts and prayers tomorrow!
Theresa (& Prudence) says
Terrific review, I’ll be ordering this book next. Prudence turned 9 this summer, fortunately she still behaves like a puppy most of the time.
Two French Bulldogs says
You are very special Sugar
Molly The Wally says
Sounds like an interesting read. Yikes you will give peeps ideas with the Clean Up command. Have a marvellous Monday.
Best wishes Molly
Miss Sugar, you are always an inspiration to us. We love you so much
Bert and My Vickie
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
Great info! That sounds like a very interesting book with some wonderful facts in it!
((Husky hugz frum da pack))
Madi and Mom says
SUGAR YOU ARE SO RIGHT ABOUT DOGS NEEDING A JOB.
SEVERAL YEARS AGO OUR NEIGHBORS ADOPTED A BORDER COLLIE….WHO WAS UNEMPLOYED.
EVERYONE KNOWS THEY NEED TO HERD SOMETHING. WELL HE HAD NOTHING TO HEAR EXCEPT MY MOM WHEN SHE WOULD GO TO OUR BIRD FEEDER HE WOULD RUN TOWARD THE FENCE NEAR OUR FEEDERS AND RUN UP AND DOWN THEN DO CRAZY ZOMBIES AROUND THE YARD. FINALLY THEY GOT HIM INTO AGILITY CLASSES NOW HE IS HAPPILY EMPLOYED AND NO LONGER SCARES MOM AND OUR BIRDS WHEN THEY ARE IN THE YARD.
HUGS MADI YOUR BFFF
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
Great review and pictures. Like the new games you teach and can’t wait to hear about more.
Comedy Plus says
Our Little Bit is 11 and she’s slowing down. We let her do what she want’s pretty much and make sure she’s not overweight. We also brush her teeth daily. You love Sugar like we love our Little Bit. Very much.
Excellent advice here.
Have a woof woof day Sugar. My best to your mom. 🙂
Sam was a great one for play. We had so many little games – including some truly silly ones like “Got your Whisker” and “Which Paw?”. When his body started to be limited due to his brain tumor we knew he still wanted to play and came up with new games for him that we could play in one spot. He was always so quick to learn new things.
Monty and Harlow
Dolly the Doxie says
Sounds like Sugar is getting everything she needs to be an active and healthy senior dog. I am so glad that you are learning new things that could help her even more. Thinking of you guys tomorrow. Love Dolly
Mom is pretty sure my problem is that she spends lots of time with Bailie because of her training. Bailie gets lots of treats with her training. We have family training where Katie and I work together with Bailie on the basics and we all get treats, but sometimes I get jealous. I have always been that way since I am kind of a princess, center of attention type. Mom is working with me to help me over this hump. Katie has never been the jealous type, although when I first came home, she did not want anything to do with me for about a week but then she got over it.
Oz the Terrier says
So many have written great things about this book! We may need to buy it; it never hurts to learn more about caring for your pet. You take excellent care of Sugar (you would never know she is 12)…but I suppose, Sugar takes excellent care of you as well.
Jake thinks his job is to chase the tennis ball really fast at least 20 times at 7, 10, 12, 3 and 5… heaven help us if it rains… i have to roll the ball to him in the living room… i have heard of dogs with dementia, bob had a friend who’s dog had that.
Thank you for sharing – I’m going to purchase.
Cattle Aussies~Bella, Terra, & Kronos says
Sounds like a great book!
Earl Lover says
You are so right Sugar,
PAWSOME BOOK there!!
Am interested in getting it for myself!
Dogs definitely do need jobs. And of course they need that time to snooze and rest it all back into energy!
Earl and I from Earl’s World! @
Dory and her Mama says
What a wonderful book! Since most of my pack is reaching (or has reached) the AARF stage I will look for it. Thanks so much for sharing!!
M. K. Clinton says
That looks like a great book with valuable information. I love Sugar, she makes me miss my Tucker even more (if that’s possible) when I see her sweet face. Give her a kiss from down here in the bayou!
It sounds like a really good read, I’ve heard some nice things about this book. I’m looking forward to reading it myself.
You’ve done an AMAZING job with Sugar. It’s no wonder at all that she’s still so young mentally and physically. 🙂
That book sounds very interesting! Bet it’s a lot harder to decode a cat!
BJ PUP says
From the sound of it, learning new tricks help to keep the dog’s mind alert. From your videos of Sugar running up and down stairs, running on the beach, and swimming you would never guess she is 12 yrs old. You keep her in good shape.
We think you are one amazing pet parent. We don’t have an AARF Dog, but we have an AARF Dad!
The Scottie Mom says
Oh boy…as if worrying about sweet Heather Beather’s liver values and whether or not her cancer will come back weren’t enough, now there’s CDS to look out for. I must say I hadn’t heard of it before but will be bringing it up to her V-E-T at our next visit. Thanks for making us a little smarter, Sugar! Much love, The Scottie Mom.
Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom says
I’ve got to check out this book!