Older dog issue

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by njmama, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. njmama

    njmama Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    We have a 9 year old retriever mutt. He has been the the best dog I have ever owned. He has always been a little flighty like afraid of the vacuum. Lately he doesn't listen at all to me. I have to force him outside to go to the bathroom. When I try to put him out today(at 2:00pm after all night) I wondered if he might bite me when I tried to move him along with his collar. He doesn't get hit. Just tell him to move it(not yelling). He has a clean bill of health from the vet. He is fine when my dh is home he is just like this with me. He was raised by me & dh. I have been stay at home his entire life. Has anyone had this happen with an older dog? I do want to chance a bite for me or my kids. I was bit by a chow in the face as a child so I know what that is like.
     
  2. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It sounds like he might be in pain. Have you had him checked for artheritis?
     

  3. njmama

    njmama Well-Known Member

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    Not specifically. He had an overall check up with the vet & they said he is fine.

    I guess I was thinking it wasn't a physical problem because he is fine when my dh is home. :shrug:

    Thanks though, I will research the arthritis.
     
  4. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Maybe he just got it into his head that he outranks you. If this is the case you can remind him who is boss by-- not allowing him on the bed or furniture; making him sit or do a trick before he gets his dinner; do not give him any food snacks for a while, then only when he has earned them; remove all of his toys for now; stop petting him when he asks to be petted; stop dragging him to the outside, if he hasn't had an accident indoors, let him be.

    You might also try going outside with him. If there is something outside that he is afraid of, he may think your husband can protect him but you cannot.
     
  5. njmama

    njmama Well-Known Member

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    My dh mentioned this to me. He thinks the dog thinks he is above me. I will try those tips.

    Thanks!
     
  6. cricket

    cricket Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes when they get older, they don't have to go as often. If he isn't pottying in the house, let him be. However, NILIF is fabulous for reminding older dogs who controls the "life rewards".
     
  7. njmama

    njmama Well-Known Member

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    What is NILIF?

    Thanks!
     
  8. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    My thought was also that he might think he outranks you, if he's only acting strangely with you. IF this is the case (and of course it might not be), then I might also be worried about him with the kids--if he thinks he outranks you, he'd also be likely to think he outranks them. When a dog outranks another, they generally see it as their right to growl or snap at the "lower" pack member if the "lower" member is displeasing them.

    NILIF = Nothing In Life Is Free

    This is basically like it sounds--you are the leader, and all good things in life come from you, and they cannot get anything they want without first pleasing you. Generally this is put into practice by having the dog obey some command from you (like sit, down, paw, etc.--something that shows your dominance) EVERY TIME before giving them their food, petting them, saying nice things to them, letting them outside to the bathroom, allowing them access to a toy, etc., etc. This is done until the dog remembers its place in the pack order, and may be repeated from time to time as necessary.

    This does not have to be violent in any way--if they don't sit when you tell them to before dinner, for example, they can simply go hungry until they do decide to sit. No yelling, no power struggles--you have what they want, you control their world, and you will give them what they want when they give you what you want. When they do, you don't make a big happy fuss, you just give them a little word of approval and give them the food or whatever it is. And of course, there is no sleeping on your bed, couch, or whatever--those are for humans, and he should know that his place is down on the floor.

    My boy dog got a little too big for his britches when he was about 6 years old, and the problem resurfaced when he was about 8. The problem was that he was always such an angel that literally for years I never had to yell at him or correct him in any way--so there was never any reminder that I was the boss. Then one day when he finally DID need a correction, he snarled and snapped at me, grazing my knuckle and breaking the skin just a tiny bit. I grabbed his 90 lb snarling self by the collar, flipped him over, and pinned him to the ground with my knee in his stomach, and shook him a bit with both hands on his scruff holding him tight until he stopped snarling at me. The whole thing lasted maybe 2 minutes, but it felt like an hour. Then I shut him in a bathroom for solitary confinement for a few hours, which is how long it took for my heart to stop racing and my hands to stop shaking--seeing my angel of a dog act like that to me was mind blowing. After that, we did the NILIF for about a week, and put him back in basic training sessions every day for about a month (just drilling everthing he already knew--sit, down, stay, come--making sure he did it right quick when I said so). Then he was back to perfect for a couple years--there was a similar, but much less severe incident a couple years later, and he got the same treatment. Now, at 11.5, he's his normal, Mr. Perfect self.

    I tell you all this because you probably don't want to let it get to where I did without realizing it. It was traumatic for both of us. If he DOES think of himself as outranking you, now is the time to address it, before he gets too sure of himself.