Tuesday, October 1, 2013

YOU CAN'T TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS

I don't honestly think that that's true but I do think you need to give it more thought because an older dog has so many years of engrained memory to justify their actions and as an older dog, they are usually much calmer and make less of an impact than the youngsters. I've thought about trying to get Zoey to respect the same rules that Kaya and Norman do and I even wondered if she is having a negative impact on them, but after giving it a lot of thought I've decided she's just fine and I'm going to enjoy her just the way she is. Here are a few examples...


Dog issues...Zoey is not good with other dogs and we've always thought it to be a bit of a miracle that she gets along so well with Kaya and Norman. Though part of me thinks a lot of it has to do with old age and she just doesn't have the energy to care as much as she used to. Though she's been good for a long time now, she had an incident with another dog on a hike the other day and so I made a decision to stick to walks around the neighborhood with her. It's not as fun for her but it's safest for everyone and it's plenty of exercise for her. I felt such a sense of relief as soon as I made the decision. I didn't realize how much stress I was feeling over taking her with us on hikes!


Always being first...in the past this has led to a bit of a stampede sort of situation through the door and I've worried that Kaya has not seen me as her leader if Zoey is marching through the door in front of me. But instead of expecting to change Zoey's habits overnight, I make sure I do not let them all out the door at once. Most importantly, I do not let Kaya and Zoey out at the same time but Norman can go out with either of them because he is about as far from anxious and competitive as it gets. When they're leashed and ready to out out the gate or front door, Zoey goes first, then me, then Kaya and Norman. Hey, it's not perfect but it works!


Pulling on the leash...though I did not want to admit needing it, the prong collar really works wonders on Zoey. She is not going to heel or wait for me to finish picking up her poop or stop lunging after squirrels and cats but at least she is not pulling my arm out of the socket and so our walks are really enjoyable now. And I am still able to work on Kaya and Norman's training with while walking her at the same time. Since I am not taking Zoey hiking anymore, I let her do a fair amount of sniffing and checking stuff out while Kaya and Norman keep it in check. It even adds an extra challenge!



Barking...Zoey barks like mad at the dog next door. To be fair to Zoey, they bark at each other. At first I was trying to work on it by going out and asking her to lie down each time or redirecting her with treats or even putting her on a tie down at the other side of the yard but none of it worked so now I just bring her inside. It kind of sucks because she prefers to be outside and I have to make sure she is separated from Gina inside but it sure beats getting mad at her or concerned that eventually Kaya and Norman will think it's okay to bark also.


Squirrel hunting...Zoey loves to hunt these little critters in the backyard and I was upset that Norman was jumping on her bandwagon but after a couple times of telling him no and calling him back to me, he no longer joins in.



So although we've had to make a few adjustments, it's working out a lot better this way for all of us. I think my relationship with Zoey is weirdly a lot like I have with my cat. I like to pet her and scratch her and talk to her and look at her and I can sometimes coax her into doing things like coming inside but otherwise I'm basically at her beck and call. It's not a bad thing, it's just not the same type of interaction I feel with Kaya and Norman.


So I've got about a month left of Zoey watching and the past week has already been a lot more enjoyable. I always try to remind myself that she is 10 years old and I don't know when she will no longer be with us and I dread that day so much, I want to enjoy all our days together. Not that it is any different with Kaya and Norman but you know what I mean...


Related Posts:
A Bad Influence?
Hike w/ Motlie & Zoey!
Boot Camp

9 comments:

  1. We've been dog sitting this past month. The first 3 weeks were tough trying to figure out the new routine with a dog that is much less obedient than ours. The last week we had him, we finally accepted him the way he is and it made our last few days together so much more enjoyable!

    Good job letting Zoey be herself and finding a good balance for you and your pooches.

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    1. Sounds like we're in the same boat! I wish I saved myself some stress from the get go but oh well:)

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  2. It's great that you've found a good balance that everyone can be happy with. I'm sure that is a huge stress reliever.

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  3. Hey, I‘m having trouble finding an email address. Can you email me back to ask you a question?
    –Shaye
    shayewalsh1@gmail.com

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  4. I swear every time we've ever had a house guest (dog) things have gone into a huge upheaval so I'm glad you've found a way to work things out.

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  5. Oh my gosh, I laughed watching the video of you walking all three. Miss Zoey is just having a good time sniffing and strolling and your two are constantly looking up at you, like, "We're being good, right?" Very impressive heeling skills by those two! And hey, Zoey wasn't pulling either.

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    1. I know, it seems a bit unfair but like I said, Kaya & Norman get to sniff to their hearts content on our hikes and before I started heel-work on our walks, my arms were literally split in 2 directions with Kaya dragging me ahead and Norman stopping to sniff every leaf and petal behind us:)

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