Older dog driving us mad

(5 Posts)
Titsywoo Sat 23-Nov-19 21:31:28

Our bulldog is 11 years old and has been going downhill with dementia for a couple of years now. She is otherwise in good health although recently it seems her hearing and eyesight are deteroriating. We got her as a rescue 4 years ago and at first she was pretty placid and would sit happily of an evening with us on the sofa and snooze. After we had some building work done she suddenly started refusing to go into our kitchen which is where she used to sleep. We couldn't have her in our room as she is too loud due to her breathing. She ended up finding a place to sleep in the boiler cupboard upstairs which she was happy with. After 6 months she refused to sleep there and ended up on the landing.

Around this time she started becoming aggressive with visitors to our house. She has very few teeth due to dental problems (presumably her previous owners neglected her in this respect) and never managed to hurt anyone but she snapped at peoples ankles if she decided she didn't like them (this was, and is, completely random from what we can see and the visitors didn't approach her most of the time). She also started weeing in the house more than before (she's always been a bit of a nightmare for jumping on beds/fabric sofas and weeing so she's not allowed it certain rooms alone) sometimes weeing right in front of me when she has full and obvious access to the garden. Due to this we had to stop her sleeping on the landing as she kept weeing on the carpet. Also one night DS came out of his room to use the bathroom and she went for his ankles. So a babygate went on the stairs and we made her a bedroom in our utility room which means she can get away and hide and it's warm and comfortable. If we have visitors she tends to get shut in here although not for long generally.

During the day she tends to sleep a fair amount and go off to lie in the garden, in the shed, cupboard under the stairs - basically away from us. She refuses to go out for walks and has done for a couple of years. Come about 7pm she tends to want company. Which is fine with us! But she is just agitated more and more at this time. She pants constantly and paces around. She gets up on the sofa (with help as she can't jump up anymore) but won't lay still to be stroked just paces the sofa, climbs on the back of the sofa and tries to sit on my shoulder (that is not comfortable), tries to jump to another sofa to my DH but either can't get there or does then immediately jumps back to the floor and does more pacing or claws at my legs to get back on my sofa. Then she wants to go in and out of the back door constantly so we are up and down closing and opening the door and it's bloody freezing. From 7pm until we go to bed it is constant and to be honest we are at the end of our tethers. Vet when we last saw them said bar a little arthritis in her hips she is in good health. If she was in pain she wouldn't be calm the rest of the day and night (although she does pace a bit between our bedtime and around midnight). If she wanted attention she would get it - she chooses to go off and not get affection! She could be bored I suppose but seeing that she won't walk and never wants to play I'm not sure what else to do. The only thing that makes her happy is food.

Any ideas would be appreciated!

OP’s posts: |
Mrsjayy Sat 23-Nov-19 21:43:45

I would let her plod on speak to you r vet as you might be looking. To PTS soon

Nettleskeins Sat 23-Nov-19 23:04:08

What about taking her out in a children buggy - just for a change of scene in the day, I would think that the going out in the garden thing is because there are interesting things out there, noises and smells and she isn't that tired because the day has been so calm/uneventful for her?
And a step to get on and off both sofas (I used to use a low box with a pad on it when dpup was younger, to save his joints)
It does sound like she is a bit bored, and reviving in the evenings as it when she sees you in one place.

A friend had a spaniel with dementia, and she said looking back she left it too long (spaniel got hydrotheraphy and walks, and seemed to still enjoy her food so friend felt she wasn't ill enough to pts, but she did feel v confused I think and that wasn't the best thing for a dearly loved pet to feel)

But I would wonder whether it is just a case of changing some small things about her day. My dog loves his walks (only a youngster) but even he has some very determined resistance to going out when it doesn't suit him, then when we get past a certain point (I have ended up carrying him) he suddenly shows enthusiasm again and walks a mile or two hmm I think he is holding out for car journeys to his favourite park and doesn't see the point of walking sometimes. Is there somewhere she likes going that you could drive to for a little potter?

Nettleskeins Sat 23-Nov-19 23:13:23

Or what about a kong in the evenings with very difficult to extract food in it..so that she gets the stimulation of sniffing and tasting and settles in one place? Maybe as well the fact that you open the door for her whenever she asks is adding to her agitation? Would it be better to have her going out at regular intervals of your making rather than her choice = perhaps a cosy hideaway in the sitting room itself near you, with an enticing kong or lickamat in it so she doesn't keep using the sofa as a place to settle or not settle.

It sounds like she is spending most of the day away from you so that she is in a safe non confusing place where her hearing and eyes aren't going to be tested, but there is a limit to this and she still needs stimulation and interaction. So perhaps on your terms rather than hers?

Neron Sun 24-Nov-19 21:31:56

Hi OP, no advice but a sympathetic ear as I'm going through the same with my boy.

He too will climb all over the sofa, on me and DH. He has 2 diseases in his spine so he needs to be careful but he keep a jumping on and off of the sofas, running around which he slips on the floor because he just doesn't have the grip so he falls. He thinks it's a game if we try to stop him/calm him. He's now on long term pain meds so he's not feeling any pain which is a blessing and a curse.
He'll follow us if we go in the kitchen and is almost obsessed with the treat cupboard- he's almost tripped me over multiple times and just barges in to me. Running up and down the stairs, refusing to go in his 'room' and pawing at the gate. He is incredibly vocal, like he is shouting at us and it is constant. His thing at the moment is doors, nudging them open and shut. He's got stuck in the bathroom and spare room so all doors are either propped open with stoppers or shut so he can't so it. Nothing I can do about the sliding wardrobes though. He was a very obedient dog due to all the classes we used to do, but now it can be like we've never trained him. He'll literally ignore us and not respond to commands.
He also gets a bit 'low' and it's so sad.

My boy is newly diagnosed (11 YO staffie) and is on 10mg of selgian daily. It's helping but he's still hard work and it's difficult keeping my patience because he is testing. I know he can't help it but it's certainly not easy

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