My Dad's dog (12 yro JRT) is apparently looking for a new home. By herself. A couple weeks ago she got out of the yard and took off for 4 days and was found 3-5 miles away, on the other side of a couple 4 lane roads. The week before that he took her to the lake with him and she jumped off the boat and was picked up at the gate to the parking lot. This was in a large marina, lots of docks, lots of boats. She did the same thing this weekend, except instead of being going to the gait, she was found at the water end of a dock. Everybody there knows who she is and where she lives, so the marina is still safe, unless she starts to swim for it. Home in suburbia is another story.
This is getting to be an unsettling trend. This dog NEVER left her yard in the past. One of those dogs who would stand at an open gait and not go through it. She has always been very happy at home, and only squeazed through the fence once as a puppy. And then came right back when I hit the ground going over the fence after her.
Last winter she started with arthritis in her shoulder. The vet said to limit her activity at the time, so Dad decided not to let her off leash EVER, even in her yard, since then. The rest of us let her "run" (she doesn't do much) when he's not home, which isn't often. She is no longer encouraged to play either. This is the only change I can think of in her routine in years.
Any reasons for this besides dementia? this is your basic, old, anxiety ridden JRT. Could her lack of turnout be responsible for this? Fixes? There is a lock on the gates now.
An interesting side note, after 4 days of roughing it with unrestricted activity, she came back sound as a dollar. Puppy PT? So of course, he won't let her continue moving.
I've always thought that the best thing for most arthritis is movement. Of course with a JR that movement could mean lots of jumping which might not be good. I've been seeing both of my older JRs, 11 & 12, start to limit their own activity. Maybe your Dad needs to just let her go like before. Maybe then with enough turnout she'll want to stay inside her fence.
I have read a lot about dementia in dogs recently. Could be that but hope not.
How about if he takes her for long walks every day? That might help.
Well, they have those radio tracking colors they use on shotgun hunting dogs.
I'd take her on walks letting her decide where to go and check her facial and body expressions. If she is directed and with it, I'd let her continue on to see if there is something she wants on her long walks ( a body of water, a car with the door open, a shady bit of woods, rabbit warrens etc). If she goes randomly, is distracted, looks confused or unhappy then I'd guess it's dementia.
IMO older animals can get a lot clearer about what they want and sorta say, "I'm going to just do it" they also can communicate what they want and get a little bit more demanding. I see that clarity as a good thing generally. But if she doesn't look happy in all this then I'd consult the vet about it, maybe he has some suggestions for arthritis or digestive issues or Prozac or something.
Finally, long leash walks would be good for both your Dad and her, it's excercise and bonding time.
I've got arthritis/skeletal issues & they keep telling ME to move. I like the tracking collar idea too.
Unfortunately, long walks are not a possibility. Dad has a lot of years on him and physically cannot do it. Theoretically, Mom could, but I really don't see it happening. Also it's HIS dog.
When I'm there, I take her out & she's always enjoyed a trip around the block. There have been times when she has literally thrown herself at me when she wanted a walk. The last time (spring) she just trotted/cantered happily down the sidewalk. Of course she's in terrible condiditon, has no stamina, since she now goes no where.
Sometimes she does just look confused. Any loud noise freaks her out. She's been on tranquilizers for thunderstorms for several years.
The vet is a whole issue onto itself. A neighbor's dog had bone cancer & was put down shortly before the little JRT came up off in front. Dad wouldn't take the little dog to the vet b/c he was sure she had bone cancer too. No reason other than the other dog(a lab) did. Took months for us to convince him to get her to the vet. He won't listen to woman vet, & try finding anything else, especially in small animals, now. He switched clinics, and still ended up with a "lady vet" In an evil way, I thought it was funny.
Have your dad go to a Veterinary University Clinic or some other specialty vet. clinic and have the dog evaluated for cognitive dysfunction. Perhaps, if he gets a "lady vet" there he might consider her ok. There are options for treatment. Do NOT let this dog loose - getting her hit by a car as she runs off for whatever reason is not a good "test"!
Wonder what trouble he has to go through when it is his turn to see a dr.
Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.