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Old 12-12-2013, 02:21 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,497 posts, read 25,437,773 times
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My parents are staying with me while my mom recovers from a serious illness. My dad has dementia and sometimes he roams the house at night, or heads out to the garage to look for the bathroom. My dog has been wonderful about waking me up when Dad is wandering and needs my help. But since my mom came home from the hospital, my dog has been totally scared of her. My mom has visited at least once a week since Ginger was a puppy, so it's not like Ginger doesn't know her, but she won't let my mom near her, and if my mom comes out of the bedroom at night, Ginger barks and hides behind the sofa. She wasn't like this before my mom's illness. Mom was not her favorite person but she tolerated her.

I've told my mom to ignore Ginger and not to look at her when she walks in Ginger's direction, and Mom is doing that, but it's not helping. I've tried getting some really yummy treats and having Mom be the only one to dispense them, but Ginger is too scared to approach her to get the treats.

Any other suggestions? I would hate for Ginger to have to spend her days in the yard (we're far enough south that it's not bad dog weather, even in December) or in her crate, but she's acting very unpredictable and Mom is already scared of lots of things and unsteady on her feet, so it's a bad combination.
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:50 AM
 
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Dogs are very good at picking up on subtle clues on what they think is normal human behavior. Your dog is picking up on your mom's illness. Some medications can make your mom smell different than Ginger thinks she should smell. Her unsteadiness can make the dog nervous- i.e. she's not acting " normal" to the dog.

This is not something you can train out of the dog. Since this is not going to be a permanent situation, it might be best to try keep mom & Ginger separated as much as possible during the time your mom is at the house. Your mom is frail and it's best not to take chances.

Let Ginger sleep in a crate or x-pen in your room at night. Or baby gate her into the room while you sleep. Use cheap baby gates to confine Ginger to parts of the house during the day where your mom won't be. The dog doesn't need to be banished to the yard.. You can easily move the gates around as need be.

You might also like to get a couple of interior door alarms and set them so you know when your dad tries to leave the house at night. It's not easy dealing with dementia.
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Old 12-12-2013, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
17,330 posts, read 31,398,927 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willow wind View Post
Dogs are very good at picking up on subtle clues on what they think is normal human behavior. Your dog is picking up on your mom's illness. Some medications can make your mom smell different than Ginger thinks she should smell. Her unsteadiness can make the dog nervous- i.e. she's not acting " normal" to the dog.
This is EXACTLY what I was thinking but wanted to chime in only after someone with more knowledge said it. Sometimes when I was sick, Artie would cling to me. Other times, though -- and now that I think of it, when I was on antibiotics -- he'd keep his distance.

Best of luck to you. You're a great daughter and dog-mama.
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Old 12-12-2013, 11:25 AM
 
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My dogs responded differently to me after my hospital stays.

In time they were back to normal.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:50 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
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My mom's been on massive doses of antibiotics, so maybe that's it.

I can't imagine a baby gate keeping Ginger in, I bought a gate and hung bells on it to let me know when Dad came out of the hallway, and it kept Dad in, but Ginger just went over it. I do have a house alarm, so I hear the chime if Dad opens the doors. At first he was opening the garage door all night which sets off the chime, but I put the deadbolt on backwards so he can't fall down out there. He's not wandering as much as he did the first week he was here, when my mom was in the hospital.
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:20 PM
 
Location: North Western NJ
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also you said mom is unsteady on her feet, this alone can be enough to make ANY dog nervous!
does mom walk with any kind of aid right now (canes, walkers ect also tend to freek dogs out too)
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:24 PM
 
10,599 posts, read 16,904,612 times
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Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
My mom's been on massive doses of antibiotics, so maybe that's it.

I can't imagine a baby gate keeping Ginger in, I bought a gate and hung bells on it to let me know when Dad came out of the hallway, and it kept Dad in, but Ginger just went over it. I do have a house alarm, so I hear the chime if Dad opens the doors. At first he was opening the garage door all night which sets off the chime, but I put the deadbolt on backwards so he can't fall down out there. He's not wandering as much as he did the first week he was here, when my mom was in the hospital.
Try putting TWO up, like double decker. One normal height and the other on top.

Normally I'd say separating is bad but since this is temporary and there's alot of unstable energy going on there it's best for everyone. Just leash her to you if necessary, and act like everything is normal when you're home and walking around or whatever. And I'd NEVER put her outside that'll just cause more problems.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:32 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
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It did get a lot better once Mom finished taking the cipro.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:50 PM
 
13,506 posts, read 17,133,031 times
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Interesting thread. I have no adult experience with dogs, but I did have a cat in a tiny apartment with me for several years. The couple of times I was in the hospital, I got an extensive smell-over test after arriving home, always followed by a retreat for some thought, lots of staring and disapproving looks from a distance. A shower restored normalcy.

But antibiotics really got his back up. He left no doubt whatsoever that I absolutely stunk. One time when on antibiotics I dropped my tee shirt on the floor instead of pitching into the dirty clothes bag in the closet. He walked over, gave a few sniffs and promptly started pawing like he was throwing litter over it. Mr. Compassion he was not.

I would imagine dogs are just as sensitive to these changes in body odor.
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