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.