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Old February 26th, 2011, 07:15 PM
im_nomad im_nomad is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 81
Re-training an older dog / scheduling

(sorry this is long )

Ok, so life in this house has gotten quite turned upside down these past several months. Early in the fall I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and have been undergoing treatment ever since. Needless to say, I have been spending most of my time at home in various stages of recuperation. I live alone.

I do not think this has done good things with regard to my dog's behavior and training, schedules have gone out the window, and after too many days and evenings spent running back and forth to the door with a dog who only occasionally actually needed to go outside (often every half hour to 45 mins), and how this was affecting my rest (and stress levels), I decided that it was time to reset because I really wasn't running the show here anymore.

In addition, the folks that I board her with on occasion have reported that she messes (both) her bedding late at night despite being walked. She mostly does this when confined to a smaller area during the winter. And while she may occasionally have a pee mishap in the house here (actually probably more than occasionally), she has never had a BM on her bedding at home, and usually does a pretty good job of holding that. I think she's both out of whack with scheduling, with a little defiance thrown in. She is a very dominant dog. She has also driven this point home when the nurse comes by to change my dressing etc, and she is not allowed in the immediate area (she is barred from the kitchen area only with a baby gate, and has access to everything else, can still see me from only a couple of feet away etc). On more than a few occasions she has messed right next to the gate, or ran off upstairs to find something to chew up (just once thankfully)

As a result, I'm trying to get her on a schedule and add more structure to our days and tbh, make life a bit easier for myself. However, given that she is 14.5, I want to make sure to not let her run the show per se, but also not have it so I'm cleaning up messes either. (this is even a bigger p.i.t.a. of late because I have to be so careful handling messes when I'm immunocompromised).

She mostly does pretty good during the day, but has a tendency to sleep a lot and therefore doesn't eat / drink / need to go as much as when the day wears on. I have started her with close to every four hours. She goes out first thing in the morning, and I have had to wake her at noon-ish to go out again. Then we try to make it to as close to 3:30-4pm as possible, and again at 7:30-8 with the last stop out being before we head up to bed later in the night (she does not look to go out at night - and the daytime schedule is the closest to what mine would be if I was working right now). I have this evening started taking her food up after her evening out.

She has the most difficulty making it through to the evening out, however it does appear to be working a bit, as she certainly goes pretty quickly now when she goes out as opposed to dawdling around for ages. But she's still trying as well (she is out in the kitchen as I type, laying down by her bowl, pacing around, staring me down etc - & she was out a little over an hour ago, but pooped only, no pee....so with the visible signs of distress, I had to let her out..she did pee). I have been making sure to give her lots of attention the past few days, but making sure I also initiate that. When she gets her pills inside a treat twice a day, she sits for them.

So, a few questions. What is / is this an appropriate schedule for a dog this age? Like I said, I want to strike a balance in not stressing her bladder and avoid the resulting accidents, but also making her aware that this is when she goes out and its when she has to do her thing.
Someday I hope to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am
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Old February 26th, 2011, 10:21 PM
mummummum's Avatar
mummummum mummummum is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: The Hammer
Posts: 8,534
Welcome to Pets.ca ~ you'll find lots of folks who have been or are now facing what you are. If not living alone with cancer AND having a senior dog then at least you will meet people who live with senior dogs.

A couple of questions if you don't mind... do you have a circle of care ~ a support network of friends who can take on ~ who you trust with ~ some away dog-play/walk time. If not, is there a service you can afford? It was such an immense relief to me knowing that my grrrls were/ are well-exercised (actually my dog walker put it best if not crudely "run off their precious asses" ;P

14 1/2 is nothing to sneeze at of course. When was the last time she went in for a health check? Spayed I assume? And, you mentioned drugs....these would be what and for what? Any supplements so far? What do you feed her? Have you noticed any other quirks about her, or peeing ? Does she leak/ have a urine / urea smell about her groin? Sorry for the explicit questions but ...
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Old February 27th, 2011, 07:44 AM
im_nomad im_nomad is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 81
Thanks mummum... I've actually been here a while but am not always a regular visitor. To answer some of your questions, I do have a few friends who have helped out, but not with dog-related stuff (aside from picking up her food). I live in a small town and there are no obvious services in the area. Unfortunately, being off work has also come with financial difficulties (which are getting better) and I could not afford someone to walk her. She is also a small dog (around 13 pounds last weigh in), and we've had a bad winter, she doesn't like to walk for long before her little toes start bothering her with the ice and salt. She otherwise loves to walk and would drag me up hill for an hour or more if the weather was good.

I had her for a health check just before I started chemo around the beginning of Dec past. She had all her shots then and the vet also recommended a deworming just to be extra careful. No problems there. She was spayed before she ever had a heat. Has a history of crystals in her urine (she's a lhasa apso / terrier / poodle mix or some sort). I feed her a combo of bagged holistic food and "lick your chops" senior formula, and occasionally similar stuff from the pet store. No grocery store food. She doesn't get "people food" with the exception of a little peanut butter or cheese with her pills (she takes Thyro), and very rarely a little plain pasta or rice if its left over (this is maybe twice a year).

Good luck getting near enough to her groin to get a smell She might be 14 but she's pretty headstrong. I don't notice any obvious smells from her though.
Someday I hope to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am
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