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how to discipline deaf blind dog

Share advice for keeping your aging dog happy and healthy

  
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Wizzie

where's the- food?
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 19, '12 12:40pm PST 
I have been looking for a senior dog forum as I am quite desperate for some advice. We have had Wizzie (rescue Border Collie) for 12 years, he is 14 now. He has had a huge long list of medical issues - epilepsy, arthritis, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, yet until this summer despite all this we had all these conditions under control and he was a really healthy dog. then this summer he got diabetes, which has been a real pain to control, then he got peripheral vestibular syndrome a few weeks ago, he is recovered now and can walk again, but he is now almost completely blind and deaf. He is very happy on his walks, but with the blndness and deafness have brought really serious behaviour problems. He always has been completely obsessed with food but now will follow my young boys (5years) and will steal food from their hands and in the process will hurt them with his teeth. He steals food from kitchen surfaces. Also I can tell he is fearfull with not knowing what is going on about him. Two days ago he was in the kitchen in the dark and one boy tripped over him and got bitten by him on the leg. A week ago he bit me as I tried to stop him taking a bit of toast. I think in the last 6 weeks he has bitten 4 times. It is usually food related and is (only!) a collie nip - he has never drawn blood, but I can see that he is stressed about being newly blind and the deafness does not help (both happened just recently). I am willing to work to try to train him - but how do you train a deaf blind dog. I had the idea of a water pistol to top the bad behaviour of stealing food. At the moment he is being excluded from meal situations, and I try to tell the boys to respect him and let him have his space and watch for the warning signs - little growls etc. but they are 5 and the example of them playing a game in the dark and accidentally walking into the dog and the dog reacting like that scare me silly. Please help if you have any advice
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Trigger

*Blackdog*
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 19, '12 12:59pm PST 
I would not discipline the dog at all if he were mine.

If you don't think it's time to consider having him put down you need to stop the children from walking around with food (which is a safety issue anyway), new rule, we only eat at the table. Tell them playing games in the dark isn't appropriate (again this is a safety issue even just for them and they are plenty old enough to understand the necessity in regards to the dog). Keep all food clear off the counters (which isn't tough in the grand scheme of things).

You can block him off from the kitchen or crate him during meal times.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 19, '12 6:30pm PST 
I agree with Trigger. We have had dogs the entire time we had children and grandchildren and by age 5 both my children and grandchildren KNEW to respect the dogs needs and have their own preferences respected by the dog(s)

The poor dog is 14 years old and sick. Why in the world would you want to suddenly dicipline HIM? I understand that he should not be biting but since you seem to intend to keep him,the little ones CAN and SHOULD be taught to be safe around him and respect his needs,he is now newly blind and very likely confused and frightened.
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Angel Lexi- ...Gone But- Never

Angel Kisses And- Butterfly- Whispers
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 19, '12 7:20pm PST 
Trigger, Mika and Kai I totally agree with both of you! Poor Old Doggiehughug
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Sabi

When the night- closes in I will- be there
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 19, '12 9:21pm PST 
And I agree with everyone as well. Teach your children to have some respect for his needs and be sympathetic to this very traumatic change. He is 14 and sick have a little compassion. If you are unable to met his needs perhaps it is time to consider your options.
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Wizzie

where's the- food?
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 19, '12 11:06pm PST 
I believe I said I do tell my kids to respect the dog and leave him alone when the dog asks to be left alone. Though he has a large number of medical issues they are all under control (at the moment, till the next one). He is not in any pain or discomfort, just a bit of a head tilt left from the vestibular. He is remarkable how he coped with it, a amazing attitude to life he has. I have been watching closely for him being depressed which would be quite unlike him, and only one day when he couldn't walk was he like that. My husband noticed that when he is in the living room and the kids are playing around he removes himself to the kitchen. So we are discussing making hte kitchen a child free zone so he can get some peace in there. But he is obviously getting used to the blind and deafness, the sight detiriated rapidly just last week. Does anyone who has a blind deaf senior dog have nay advice?
What about - you can always train even an old dog, which you always read about? He is a very clever dog and would respond well to some training I am sure I am just not sure how to do it? I would love to stop him jumping up onto the surfaces, not least as he soemtimes wobbles and falls over. Keeping htem clear of food is not always possible unless I exclude him from the kitchen whenever I am in there cooking or preparing pack lunches and need to leave to get soemthing form the fridge in the garage. One of his pleasures in life is sitting at my feet whilst I cook sohe can catch anything that falls on the floor....
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 20, '12 12:43am PST 
I am not sure everybody read this post slowly enough. I think Trig did. It's not a case of the kids not respecting the dog. He's stealing food out of their hands, and the kids played a game in the dark kitchen and accidentally bumped into him. They have grown up with this dog. If they did not respect him, there would have been problems way before now.

OP, it is true that saying, you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks, but the problem now is that he is seeing his world differently. He can't use his eyes or ears anymore. Now his nose has to totally take over. That's why he's probably snatching the food....because his nose is now ruling his brain more than it ever did. And he doesn't have those sight visuals that were reminding him that snatching food from counters or from the kids' hands isn't the mannerly thing to do.

This is going to come down to more a question of management than training. When it's not good to have him out and about, you can gate him. As Trig said, I know with five year olds it is tough, but no roughhousing around the dog is probably a rule they can learn to follow. It's hard because he can't see or hear things. I fostered a deaf dog once and it's amazing how unaware they can be of background activities. So he sees nothing coming, and then all of a sudden gets crashed into....that's very startling, and the world probably seems scarier to him now. He should have his safe places when you think it's best he be out of the way. That and a few new ground rules for the kids is probably the kindest and most realistic approach.

You might try simply always leaving food down for him. Maybe if he has that one place he always knows food is, he will be less likely to respond to smells of it elsewhere?
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Wizzie

where's the- food?
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 20, '12 4:52am PST 
Poor old Wizzie. He really was amazing for his age until this summer when he got the diabetes, it has been a real struggle since then cry

Yes I think I am getting that now, it is just a question of management and control. The kids are great - even after being bitten there was completely nothing but love for the dog - so they do understand and know he is old now.

I love that you think I can just leave food down for him all the time - this dog is OBSESSED by food and it would not last a minute! laugh out loud also he needs digestive enzymes on all his food (the EPI) and should not eat anything outside of his mealtimes (the diabetes). I think it an interesting point you make that his sense of smell rules now and has probably made his food obsession much worse. I am not going to make the boys eat a biscuit or an apple at the table, however I am going to tell them that they must not move about with food as it is unfair on the dog and dangerous to them and the dog who (literally) blindly follows the food.
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Missy

Miss- Pig!
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 20, '12 6:32am PST 
I agree, it's just about managing the situation now. Developing a new routine that make Wizzie more comfortable and less stressed.

Does he have a safe haven he can go to whenever he wants? Might be a crate or just a general area of your house that he likes to relax in. It might be a good idea to create a safe little place for him, make it really cosy and inviting...even hide treats in there and/or feed him there so that he comes to understand he only gets fed in "his" safe area. This should be a place that he can go to without being disturbed at all.

Like Trigger said, when eating you could separate him from the kitchen/dining room or whatever with a baby gate across the kitchen door etc. Maybe feeding him his dinner at the same time in the other room so he's not so desperate to have whatever you're having.

It must be hard for all of you, including poor old Wizzie hug But hopefully with management he can enjoy the rest of his days surrounded by his loving family.
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 20, '12 11:29am PST 
@ Wizzie, I know it is hard, but sometimes we need to sort of "grow" with our loved ones as they change. I know that my mom, who I lost last year, was this totally amazing woman who ran a publishing house, traveled the world, was a matriarchal sort of a leader who could make everyone laugh with all of her quirk and charm....just this awesome and able person. And then she got Parkinsons and wasn't the same anymore. She had social anxiety, was more impatient, no longer able to have her grand adventures that in so many parts were such a definition of her. She was more into the simple things she could connect with, such as sun bathing, watching birds, enjoying her regular restaurant. It was more about seeing what she still could enjoy and accepting these other changes.

Dogs can be a lot the same as they age. They change. I think a part of it is that it's only human to miss what's not there anymore, to feel a little dismayed by the newer versions. But it sounds to me as if he still has a life. Do your best to love that life, and to do what you can to make it easier. It may be not so much a point of training, but managing, and somewhere inside embracing who he is. It's only human to really miss what is not there. But one day he'll really be gone, and then you'll miss all of him, in all measures. So do what you can to enjoy him in the now. It will make it a lot better when you do let him go that this wasn't some big downer. That through it all, you gave him a great life, he was happy and part of your family.

I totally get it about why you can't leave food down laugh out loud It's nice that he still has that food love wink I am pretty confident what you are seeing is that he's just using his nose more. So make the adjustments, in support of him just so it is not disruptive to your family harmony. Stay a family....the boys, Wizzie and all, while supporting him.

I also think by talking to the boys, it's a good life's lesson, a good preparation for a day to come at some point that he won't be there anymore. If they can love him through this, see some way they are supporting and making life easier, that's just very healthy.
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