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Old 09-23-2013, 05:17 PM
 
1 posts, read 6,291 times
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My Shih Tzu Rufus will be 14 in January. He's blind, deaf and has severe arthritis. His back right leg actually collapses when he walks sometimes but he can still climb the stairs. My mother lived with us the entire 14 years of his life. Mother unexpectedly past away 8 weeks ago while she was on vacation at my sisters. Since then he's started to treat me like he did her. Demanding, biting, and trying to be the boss. However, when my husband is home, which is only on the weekends, he's does none of these things to him. This afternoon, he snapped at me, would have actually bit me if I would have been closer, for scolding him for barking. He barks at nothing. I think he's so blind that he thinks he see's things that is probably the refrigerator or something else and he can't make out what it is. When I let him outside at night to potty I have to go with him because he can't find his way back to the house anymore because he can't see well enough. If you approach him out in the yard and you don't say something to him he'll try and bite you then.

This behavior is not, in my opinion, due to my mother's death. He acted this way with her too but never with me. Now he's started acting this way with me.

I work from home and cannot get anything done without having to see what he's barking at, letting him outside 5 to 6 times per day. Today, as not to smack him with something after trying to bite me I locked him in the laundry room which is where he sleeps in his kennel for 2.5 hours.

I don't know what to do with him at this point. I'm just at my wit's end with him.

I guess I'm trying to put of the inevitable. I know he's had a long, good life. I just struggle with this decision.

Any input would be appreciated.
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:33 PM
 
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might be time, before you end up hating him. it's never easy.. but what is right for the dog and for the family... is right
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:35 PM
 
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Honestly with a senior, deaf, blind, arthritic dog I'd use a strategy of prevention / management. That means identifying triggers and eliminating them. Examples of triggers that you mentioned in your OP are: 1) scolding him (for barking) and 2) startling him (approaching without warning). So I would just never do those things. Instead of scolding (i.e. punishing) I'd redirect (i.e. give him something better to do than the unwanted behavior). I would make sure he is always aware that I'm approaching, being careful to never 'sneak up on him'.

I'd also understand that he may have canine dementia and I'd be very patient, understanding, and compassionate toward him. If he is suffering on a daily basis I do agree with the sentiments of the poster above.
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:44 PM
 
Location: West Virginia
12,367 posts, read 31,247,713 times
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I too vote it time.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:43 PM
 
Location: State College PA
402 posts, read 2,028,579 times
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Is he on arthritis meds?
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:46 PM
 
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 20,641,858 times
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Quote:
If you approach him out in the yard and you don't say something to him he'll try and bite you then.
he cant see, hes probably not hearing well either and hes in generalized pain that we now for sure (and who knows if hes in pain that you don't know about ontop of it all)

my bet is your accidentally suprising him...hes never dne this before to you because up until your mother passed ill bet she was the one as his primary care taker, now your taking over that roll and having more interaction with him your stepping into the same issues...if you take him by surprise, get into his space unexpectedly ect itll freek him out, he cant see you coming, hes probably not hearing you coming all he hears is something...he may see a shadow and suddenly its making noise at him and approaching him quicly..how would you react to that?
ive wored with a lot of deaf and vision impaired dogs an they startle easily o a goo day, add senior and pain to that mix and it takes a lot of work

it reay sounds like hes miserable...and it might be time to let him go...
this is obviously effecting his quality of life...and that's where my "end it" comes in.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:11 PM
 
12,825 posts, read 20,012,910 times
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I can imagine if I were that old and some of my faculties were getting worn out, I might be a bit snappy as well.

The post about understanding triggers is right on.

There is an art to geriatric pet care.
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:15 AM
 
10,604 posts, read 14,085,547 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches13 View Post
My Shih Tzu Rufus will be 14 in January. He's blind, deaf and has severe arthritis. His back right leg actually collapses when he walks sometimes but he can still climb the stairs. My mother lived with us the entire 14 years of his life. Mother unexpectedly past away 8 weeks ago while she was on vacation at my sisters. Since then he's started to treat me like he did her. Demanding, biting, and trying to be the boss. However, when my husband is home, which is only on the weekends, he's does none of these things to him. This afternoon, he snapped at me, would have actually bit me if I would have been closer, for scolding him for barking. He barks at nothing. I think he's so blind that he thinks he see's things that is probably the refrigerator or something else and he can't make out what it is. When I let him outside at night to potty I have to go with him because he can't find his way back to the house anymore because he can't see well enough. If you approach him out in the yard and you don't say something to him he'll try and bite you then.

This behavior is not, in my opinion, due to my mother's death. He acted this way with her too but never with me. Now he's started acting this way with me.

I work from home and cannot get anything done without having to see what he's barking at, letting him outside 5 to 6 times per day. Today, as not to smack him with something after trying to bite me I locked him in the laundry room which is where he sleeps in his kennel for 2.5 hours.

I don't know what to do with him at this point. I'm just at my wit's end with him.

I guess I'm trying to put of the inevitable. I know he's had a long, good life. I just struggle with this decision.

Any input would be appreciated.
Everybody jumps to "the inevitable" in a senior dog rather than objectively examine the facts. No offense, it's human nature. My pet sitting clients do it all the time. One family kept attributing their dog's pain symptoms and weird actions to "dementia" and finally got an exam at my insistence and she had back injuries and a very low thyroid.

Well you're dealing with a problem that existed for a long time it seems. Didn't you ever wonder why he was "that way" with your mom? It's kind of weird and not typical that a dog would single out ONE PERSON in the house to bite, right? We're only hearing a fraction of the story. Did he do that his WHOLE LIFE? Or was she getting sick later in life and he started that "recently" with her? WHO was the primary caretaker?

Also what exactly does "SCOLDING" mean if he's blind and deaf?


His behavior and mental state is obviously connected to YOU if he is not this way with your husband.

So the exact issue is he barks? I don't really know what "be the boss" means in this case, he's a disabled old small dog, how "bossy" can he even be? And who cares? LOL. He can easily be ignored in that regard. IF you have balanced leadership energy to begin with. If the barking is NEW, it's because the energy in your house is off...and he's anxious and maybe even hoping for your mom or husband to come home. He definitely DOES know your mother is not there, and the energy has changed in your home. I suggest you examine YOU energy. Losing a mother is one of the most stressful things in life. Even if you and your mother were not close or had issues, it doesn't matter. It's a big thing. A life changing thing.

Dogs have and feel stress even worse than humans. Everything a dog does is reactionary to their environment. Dogs are a MIRROR of US. Generally, (without complications), a balanced house without bad energy and a pack leader leads to a balanced dog. A stressful house or no pack leader leads to an unbalanced dog.

My mother's Lab had problems after she died, in fact, she contracted a serious condition of IBS with projectile diarrhea when noises scared her that she never had in her whole life. She was 13, a fun loving easy going typical Lab until my mom died. Then, even a stapler scared her and she got diarrhea within SECONDS. I had moved with my Bulldog into my mothers when she was ill but it was obviously no consolation to her after my mother died. Or she was responding to the stress I HAD dealing with everything, my mother spending a year in a nursing home wasting away to 60 pounds, then the other things you do after that.

THEN she got a malignant melanoma in her jaw. We had it debulked and were told she only had 6months to live because it would come back with a vengeance. It didn't. We assumed it was a lab error. Eventually she got back to pretty normal and that was that.

She lived another 3 years with NOTHING recurring. Then when my bulldog died (her housemate) after a stressful illness, the Lab's melanoma came back with a vengeance in the same spot.

I can't tell you how to fix your energy - your mother just died - but you sound "disconnected" emotionally/psychologically from the dog. Maybe move his crate OUT of the enclosed laundry room so he can at least be in the family area. Have a little compassion for him.

It may sound weird but if you can figure out what triggered him to snap at your mom, see if YOU are doing the same things with him. Are you trying to rush him to complete tasks? Did he ALWAYS bark at nothing or is that new?

And stop "scolding". You are making things worse with frustrated tense energy. On top of whatever OTHER energy you have after your mother's passing. He's an old special needs dog at the end of his life. He has anxiety and who knows what else. When was the last time he saw a vet? Why can't you put his leash on to go outside and lead him back in? "have to go out with him" sounds resentful and I'm surprised you're surprised that he gets spooked when you "approach him without saying something". No offense but DUH. Now, lets keep in mind dog's use their SMELL before eyes and ears so it's not exactly "saying something to him" - and he's obviously not completely deaf then - but something else IMO. He bites you inside AND outside right? Maybe he can't be leashed because you never used a leash? Just guessing here.

And for me, "letting a dog out 5 or 6 times a day" is actually normal, not all that excessive. That's every 4 hours. Who let him out before? Your mother? Is he URINATING when he goes out or what, exactly? Or are you inside not paying attention "working" and don't know?

And make sure he's on PAIN meds for the arthritis.Did the VET say arthritis or is that something you're assuming? He could even have a thyroid problem or a UTI if he didn't used to go out that much. A UTI causes mental problems in senior humans all the time. Thyroid is a rule in for when dogs seem high strung, anxious etc. AND collapsing rears, excessive eating and drinking and urinating rules in Cushings. Especially at his age.

He needs a VET VISIT and a screening for all these things before you talk about euthanasia, IMO. Also, it's not unusual for dogs to appear confused or even get "lost" staring at walls etc (Canine Cognitive Dysfunction)...several months or even years before the REAL problem surfaces. LIke a brain tumor. We've seen that on my megaesophagus board after autopsy. There's dopamine treatment for the Canine Cognitive Dysfunction - Anipryl.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=1346

And don't be so sure he's NOT seeing things. Watch Long Island Medium on TLC.

Last edited by runswithscissors; 09-24-2013 at 05:00 AM..
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:22 AM
 
Location: North America
19,636 posts, read 12,350,428 times
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Putting a dog down because he barks and snaps, and his care has becme inconvenient, IMHO is nonsense. Sorry, folks, I call em as I see em. Take him to your vet. Consult with the vet for what is best for the dog. There are treatments for the arthritis that can improve his quality of life substantially. Putting a dog down is serious business, and your vet should be a partner in this.

I was lucky. When it came time to put my old dog down because of degenerative myelopathy, my vet became my best resource. We came to the decision together.

You also need to understand that the dog has lost two important senses, so he's going on smell alone.
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Old 09-26-2013, 10:30 AM
 
12,825 posts, read 20,012,910 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carterstamp View Post
Putting a dog down because he barks and snaps, and his care has becme inconvenient, IMHO is nonsense. Sorry, folks, I call em as I see em. Take him to your vet. Consult with the vet for what is best for the dog. There are treatments for the arthritis that can improve his quality of life substantially. Putting a dog down is serious business, and your vet should be a partner in this.

I was lucky. When it came time to put my old dog down because of degenerative myelopathy, my vet became my best resource. We came to the decision together.

You also need to understand that the dog has lost two important senses, so he's going on smell alone.
My family member is snappy when I go to see him in his bed, he can't see very well, I need to help him with his toileting, help him get in and out bed, etc. Sometimes he cries without reason. He'll never be the man he used to be. Etc ...

I know this is a touchy subject, but, Les Americaines are very quick to "put 'em down."

I think it's a carry over from the old frontier. Heck, my grandparents took care of business with bullets.

But times have changed and we should be open to change as well.
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