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any mental wellbeing tips/advice for oldies?

(14 Posts)
chickchickchicken Tue 21-Jun-11 19:10:43

i have a 14yr old jrt. she is in great shape physically - ideal weight, she still loves a long walk, vet said her teeth are the best he has seen on 14yr old dog, she still loves playing with her ball. i am doing all i am aware of to safeguard her physical health.

does anyone have any tips on her to look after her mental wellbeing as she gets older? she does have the odd 'blank' moment, which worries me, but vet said it was normal for her age. how can i maintain/improve her mental agility? she is an amazing dog and i want to allow her to grow old at her pace without being cruel and expecting her to partake in mental stimulation games. how do i know what is the right balance?

any other tips or advice for oldies either physical or mental appreciated

chickchickchicken Tue 21-Jun-11 21:34:02


Scuttlebutter Tue 21-Jun-11 22:28:56

Our 11 year old greyhound enjoyed doing his KC classes, though he's a mere junior compared to yours. I'd just carry on with doing what you've always done, it sounds as though he is enjoying it. If he's struggling to cope with any training you do, you'll soon see that, but to be honest that doesn't sound like a problem at the moment. With us, we're more likely to get "senior moments" than the dog. blush... Did I lock the car? What did i come in hte shop for? etc.

Our last vet was very evangelical about "Old age is not a disease" - he really challenged our approach (in a good way). I certainly wouldn't assume that a dog would be too forgetful just because it was old. My friend's 15 year old lurcher, who we knew (and loved) very well, died earlier this year and he was as sharp as a razor right up to the end. I've been fortunate enough to know a fair few older greys/lurchers and they are all usually pretty good, although a bit stiffer/frailer/skinnier in their last years.

MotherJack Tue 21-Jun-11 22:35:16

I don't have any answers, but I am interested in what they might be.

OldLady has several "absences" during the day, funny, lovely old thing that she is. Interestingly, she had an op that took a lot longer than anticipated last Thursday and it took it out of her and in terms of recovery and what it was she was recovering from meant that I had no option but to remove all stimuli/usual rewards. She is bringing them back in herself, so I am learning from her what it is she looks for and enjoys the most.

OldBoy grew up with me, and I just kind of knew what he needed. I have only had OldLady since October last year so am still learning smile

chickchickchicken Tue 21-Jun-11 22:58:13

thanks scuttle and MJ. she has been such a loyal friend to me and ds that i want her to live happily forever as long as possible

do you know if there are any supplements that i should be giving her which will help mental wellbeing? she has jwb senior as her main food

i can see when she needs to rest physically after a walk but the mental side i find harder as i know she would want to please me so much so she would still search for something ive hidden for her to find for example even if she was tired and wanted to rest. i dont want the stop the mental games as i am hoping that will help keep her as mentally sharp as possible

doing a KC class is a good idea. i will investigate

MJ - if not upsetting for you could you describe the 'absences' your oldie gets?

chickchickchicken Tue 21-Jun-11 22:59:23

MJ - what op did she have? is she ok now?

chickchickchicken Tue 21-Jun-11 23:02:10

scuttle - i like your vet's approach to old age.

Scuttlebutter Tue 21-Jun-11 23:11:23

Thanks Chicken. We have two senior dogs, and have fostered several others, and his approach was a real wake up call. So often you see people describing an older dog being grumpy or very stiff as being completely inevitable without thinking about why that might be, and what could be done about it. To begin with, it really was one of those cognitive dissonance moments, but once I'd got my head around his approach, I really found it inspiring, and one of those genuinely rare moments that alters the way you think which are often very difficult at the time but you're grateful for later.

I'm not aware of any specific dietary supplements for mental health. If there were, I'd probably take one myself. Although as we have three greyhounds, any supplements of that nature would be doomed anyway grin - they are generally wayward, intractable and often quite spectacularly dim.

MotherJack Tue 21-Jun-11 23:29:04

Op wise, it was the dentistry work (I might have told you about? May be confused...!) They fully expected it to be a quick scale and polish job, but they ended up taking 5 of her big teeth out, which they said took a very long time and they had to forfeit a couple of smaller jobs they were going to do because of the length of time she was under. It took her a while to recover from that plus she can't have her normal treats as her mouth is sore, bless her little socks.

Absence-wise, she is a funny one. I have had my eye on her for a while as, from the start, she seemed to fall asleep and straight into a dream, twitching away.... I suspected she was having a fit the first time I saw it.... but she doesn't do that anymore. In terms of her absences, she just stops, dead, on a walk on all four feet and disappears for anything up to a minute. I talk to her gently and give her a stroke and she gets back into her stride, but it usually takes physical touch for her to do so. Talking to her brings her "back in the room" but she needs the "prod" of touch, somehow.

Chuckling away at greyhounds spectacular dimness. By the way, Scuttle.... fancy a bit of collar porn? Seen the turquoise one? <loaded question>.

chickchickchicken Tue 21-Jun-11 23:38:17

scuttle - dim AND lazy. hmm the appeal of greys being my couch companions increases as we would be well matched wink

MJ - you probably did tell me but i was having a senior moment grin

ouch 5 teeth out. how is she now?

does her absences only happen on walks? mine is the opposite, never noticed them on walks just when we are at home. she will sometimes get into a zone (and not in the usual obsessed jrt way) when she is doing something and i have to coax her out of it. does your vet say its old age?

MotherJack Wed 22-Jun-11 00:11:11

I too love the thought of greys, but my OldLady come alive on walks (well, apart from her absences) so whilst I know she gets on well with the breed, she really needs a fellow bumbler for a bit of off lead tussling and snorting abnd occasional ability to bumble around for 2 -3 hours. Surrounded by woods and fields here so it is a shame... and would be an easy option... <sigh> but sadly not right.

She is getting to be alright again now and telling me what is important in her life - the mini markies for weeing outside (I've been crushing them for her the last day or so blush) and her tennis ball (not on walks for the time being - just 5 mins at a time in the garden). It's been good to start from scratch.

The absences used to happen in the house, just after vigorous exercise with her ginger gangly mate, but she hasn't been here for a while and she now just has them on walks. Strangely (for me) I haven't mentioned them to the vet... I suppose I was too busy insisting there was a lot wrong with her teeth! Hopefully her teeth are no longer causing her the pain they must have been, but her absences seem almost natural with no cause for alarm. I literally check everything out with vets - but everything all seems so ok with OldLady that it has never come up when we are there.

Scuttlebutter Wed 22-Jun-11 09:35:37

MJ, I know someone whose grey wears Silver Peacock collars, and they are indeed wondrous to behold. Personally, though I love the colours and fabrics, I prefer the "full" martingales as you see on 2Hounds or Around the Hounds. blush Must stress though this is personal choice, and as I say, the SP collars look even more stunning in real life than they do on the page, if that were possible. Are you thinking of a purchase? grin

Please send your dear OLdLady gentle hugs and a moist morsel of poached chicken from us. The good thing is that having these teeth out will help her considerably so wishing her all the best for a speedy recovery.

MotherJack Wed 22-Jun-11 10:08:52

Oooh... yes.... I prefer the full ones too. And 2Hounds does thin ones which is exactly what I need.... hmmm. May well be furtling around that site later... thank you!

My loaded question was because I have already purchased said collar and it is absolutely no good for OldLady because it is far too wide for her. I thought it would work, but it doesn't <sulk>. Anyway, the short of it is I have a brand new Silver Peacock Martingale sat around doing nothing and wondered if you would like it as a donation to the charity you work for as a Raffle prize or whathaveyou??

Scuttlebutter Wed 22-Jun-11 18:12:09



That is just so incredibly nice of you. Thank you.

Thank you. Again. Thank you. grin grin grin

I will PM you.

Did I say thank you? grin

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