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Older rescue dog - questions

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  • Older rescue dog - questions

    Hi Everyone,

    Long time lurker/reader coming here to ask the wise COTHers some questions about a rescue dog I recently adopted.

    Backstory: ~10 year beagle mix who was transferred from a different state to a local dog rescue. Super sweet, quiet, hard of hearing and has cloudy vision. My understanding is that she and her sister were owner surrenders, but that is all we know. My vet referred to her as a special needs older girl. We did start her on an anti-inflammatory for arthritis, but took her off that once she started having diarrhea and vomiting. I'm not sure if the latest crate issues are residual effects of the drug getting out of her system. She's been getting mostly chicken and rice with a tiny bit of kibble after she turned her nose up at the canned food the rescue sent home. I removed the kibble during this latest bout.

    She does not potty on the leash. She will ONLY potty in my tiny postage stamp backyard. She also has not established a signal for when she needs to go out, so I'm probably taking her out too often. Waiting her out is an adventure because she will just stand next to you for 20 minutes. She gets rewarded when she does poop and pee in the backyard with treats and scratches. She probably gets between 4 - 6 walks of varying length during the day. I take her out longer when it's daylight otherwise she's super slow in the dark given the vision issues. I've even gotten the long light weight leash and we go to a local park but she won't go too far from me, thinking that maybe she's just shy on the leash. We've also been working very hard on a daily routine.

    She's crated during the day (dog walker comes mid day) and sleeps in a crate at night. We may have the peeing in the house issue sorted, however, it's the pooping in the crate that's now an issue. We've had several nights where she will poop in the crate, lay in it and I will wake up to the smell. It would be different if she barked to let me know she needs to go out but, she doesn't do anything (that I'm aware of). This part is getting me to my ropes end, quickly.

    Questions:
    1. Is there hope for the potty training? Will she eventually starting pottying on the leash? She's getting into smells now on our walks, but doesn't pee over anyone else. She also doesn't follow my housemate's dogs lead about going potty on walks.
    2. Returning her to the rescue is a possibility, but I'm not sure they would disclose all this information that I've collected over the short time that I have had her. I also struggle with the feelings of failure for not waiting this out. Friends keep telling me it will get better, but than they laugh when I tell them we pooped (normal, good poop) in the backyard and came in the house and pooped on the rug. (gee, thanks guys).
    3. At this point, if she's not tethered to me, she's in the crate. Otherwise she paces (there may be a bit of doggy dementia going on) but I just can't trust her to not do something in the house.

    Will/does it get better? What mistakes am I making? Can you teach an older, hard of hearing with vision problems new tricks or am I fighting a 10 year battle of habits that are just too engrained? I don't want to give up on her but...

    Thanks!



  • #2
    Well, I had a non-rescue female sheltie/cattle dog mix that never peed in her life outside of her own yard. Well, until we went for a week long trip to a backwoods cabin that basically required it. She was errorlessly housetrained and never ever ever went potty in the house, any house, never. She'd hold it for 24hrs if necessary. But a week in the wilderness (NO off leash time) left her zero options. But as soon as we were home again, potty only in the yard, never on the leash, no no. And we went for 2 walks/day, every day, nearly without fail, for all 12 years of her life. I could have walked all those 12 years without buying a single poop bag. Weird dog.

    I'd say at least she will potty in the yard, haha!
    Power to the People

    Comment


    • #3
      Food-and-poop-schedule. Feed same time every day and choose food that creates hard shaped poop. If the dog is not skinny or sick I'd stick to a food that supports my potty training whether the dog loves it or not. Praise every success - if you feed goodies it may confuse your food-and-poop-schedule - sometimes a choice between plague and cholera.
      Maybe your dog is not used to walks leashed or even not used to go for walks at all. You have to get to know her, than you will see the signs - often they are not as obvious as whining or barking. Beginning dementia will not make it easier. My personal goal in your case would be: pooping and peeing in the backyard. Also take care of your own bodylanguage and expectations - some dogs react stressed when their owners are waiting for 'the miracle' and will not pee or poop due to lack of relaxation (this is also the case for dogs that are distracted easily or are anxious).
      The life of your old lady is turned upside down completely, no matter what kind of life she lived before you adopted her. Maybe she misses someone. Maybe she is overwhelmed. Maybe she needs different food or a different routine.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Popcorn View Post
        Hi Everyone,

        Long time lurker/reader coming here to ask the wise COTHers some questions about a rescue dog I recently adopted.

        Backstory: ~10 year beagle mix who was transferred from a different state to a local dog rescue. Super sweet, quiet, hard of hearing and has cloudy vision. My understanding is that she and her sister were owner surrenders, but that is all we know. My vet referred to her as a special needs older girl. We did start her on an anti-inflammatory for arthritis, but took her off that once she started having diarrhea and vomiting. I'm not sure if the latest crate issues are residual effects of the drug getting out of her system. She's been getting mostly chicken and rice with a tiny bit of kibble after she turned her nose up at the canned food the rescue sent home. I removed the kibble during this latest bout.

        She does not potty on the leash. She will ONLY potty in my tiny postage stamp backyard. She also has not established a signal for when she needs to go out, so I'm probably taking her out too often. Waiting her out is an adventure because she will just stand next to you for 20 minutes. She gets rewarded when she does poop and pee in the backyard with treats and scratches. She probably gets between 4 - 6 walks of varying length during the day. I take her out longer when it's daylight otherwise she's super slow in the dark given the vision issues. I've even gotten the long light weight leash and we go to a local park but she won't go too far from me, thinking that maybe she's just shy on the leash. We've also been working very hard on a daily routine.

        She's crated during the day (dog walker comes mid day) and sleeps in a crate at night. We may have the peeing in the house issue sorted, however, it's the pooping in the crate that's now an issue. We've had several nights where she will poop in the crate, lay in it and I will wake up to the smell. It would be different if she barked to let me know she needs to go out but, she doesn't do anything (that I'm aware of). This part is getting me to my ropes end, quickly.

        Questions:
        1. Is there hope for the potty training? Will she eventually starting pottying on the leash? She's getting into smells now on our walks, but doesn't pee over anyone else. She also doesn't follow my housemate's dogs lead about going potty on walks.
        2. Returning her to the rescue is a possibility, but I'm not sure they would disclose all this information that I've collected over the short time that I have had her. I also struggle with the feelings of failure for not waiting this out. Friends keep telling me it will get better, but than they laugh when I tell them we pooped (normal, good poop) in the backyard and came in the house and pooped on the rug. (gee, thanks guys).
        3. At this point, if she's not tethered to me, she's in the crate. Otherwise she paces (there may be a bit of doggy dementia going on) but I just can't trust her to not do something in the house.

        Will/does it get better? What mistakes am I making? Can you teach an older, hard of hearing with vision problems new tricks or am I fighting a 10 year battle of habits that are just too engrained? I don't want to give up on her but...

        Thanks!

        Senior dogs take patience and understanding. I think you might be expecting too much too quick. You said recent? Does recent mean a couple weeks, a month, half a year? You have a senior dog whose entire life has changed and the owner they knew and probably loved gave them up. Of course you can teach an old dog new tricks, but keep what you are expecting reasonable. Give her a routine. She may never tell you when she needs to go outside (mine don't, but I'm consistent with how often they go out) so do your part and always keep it consistent.

        By you can't trust her not to do anything so keep her tethered to you or crated... like you are just permanently leashing her to you because she might poop (which is cleanable) or pee (which is cleanable)? Have you tried puppy pads? If she has dementia like you say she may not realize she needs to go - and that adds another layer of confusion on top of being taken out of your home, living in a shelter situation for who knows how long, and being in a new strange place.

        She may also be pooping in the kennel in relation to separation anxiety.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'd give her more time. The average dog takes 3 months to start calming down from anxiety in a new home. That average
          may mean younger dogs, dogs not upended and losing friends, owners etc. Your poor old gal has lost everything familiar
          in her life. Please be more patient and understanding. Plus she's losing her hearing and her sight. What a jolt to her life.
          You are the equivalent of a human caretaker that has taken on someone at the autumn of their life. This is the season of your doggy's life. She's winding down so you can't expect her to learn her new life habits like a young dog would.
          Just keep working on a calm routine, with good healthy food. As few drugs as possible. And have lots of patience.
          "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thank you to everyone who has responded so far...I appreciate the comments and in reality, you guys are correct - I'm just not giving it time combined with high expectations. Thanks for the reminder about all the change that she's experienced.

            Comment


            • #7
              You’re very welcome Popcorn. I hope you find the way.

              Comment


              • #8
                If she is pooping in her crate at night, change her feeding time. Add a couple of tablespoons of pure canned pumpkin to food to solidify poops.

                Comment


                • #9
                  How long exactly have you had her? I am agreeing that you need more time.

                  I am worried about the pooping in the crate and wonder if it was partially due to the food. How long since she was off the NSAIDS? I'm usually the last person to advise assuming food is the culprit for everything - but in your case you don't know enough about her to know if she's had GI issues with any specific food.

                  I had a dog that was allergic to chicken - which we found out when he had mild GI issues as a puppy on a chicken based food and we were advised to switch to a couple of days of boiled chicken and rice or lamb/rice, etc. Well chicken and rice was a really bad choice for that particular dog, since it was the single ingredient that was apparently bothering him. There was no way he could hold that in his crate.

                  So, I might try switching to either a limited ingredient food that does not have chicken in it, or try making a batch of ground lamb and brown rice and see if you get improvement.

                  Once you get a food that she can tolerate, the rest is easier to adjust.

                  Comment

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