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Help me not strangle my sweet elderly dachshund

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  • Help me not strangle my sweet elderly dachshund

    This past year, my 12+-year-old dachshund has begun demand barking/growling like crazy. She picked up the habit a couple years ago when we'd be in a crowd, and people had stopped paying attention to her, so she'd give one loud demanding bark and everyone would coo "oh, she just wants attention, how precious" and pet her and so Barking Works. We ignored it at home, but it was reinforced so often in public that she keeps doing it.

    Now she uses it for attention/food/boredom at home, and constantly. She decides when she wants to get up in the morning (between 6-7), barks/growls until we get up and take her out, then will sleep a little while longer, then decides that it's time to get up and start the day, so she lies in her bed and growls. If you put her downstairs, she lies at the bottom of the stairs and barks, one bark every fifteen seconds (like clockwork). If we sit down to eat and it becomes clear she's not getting any, she demands to go outside right that second.

    While she does have some incontinence issues, and drinks a lot/pees a lot in general, she mostly just wants to go outside and eat poop, because apparently that's fun and delicious. Coprophagia pills don't work. She barks for someone to come get her and carry her into the next room if we leave; she barks for people to come back downstairs if we go upstairs; she growls to get off the couch; she growls to get on the couch...

    This morning she started the growling around 4:30 a.m. (lying in her bed, not dancing at the door); I finally took her outside at 5, where she peed quickly and then waddled off to eat some poop, and I had to go outside in the snow in a nightgown to grab her because I can't even yell as the next house is literally 4' away. Then back upstairs, she fell asleep and was snoring within seconds as I seethed and shivered in the bed.

    I can ignore it mostly during the day, except that occasionally she'll then pee on the floor or her bed if she's ignored and she actually has any pee in her at the time. She also has endless capacity for barking; I've heard her do the fifteen-second bark for over an hour when I was upstairs, waiting for her to be quiet so I could come back down. At night/early morning, I can sometimes sleep through the growling, but my husband absolutely can't and will give up and take her out because he has to get up early.

    Any thoughts? She is otherwise the sweetest, best dog in the world (other than the puncture wounds in my finger from her choking on a chew yesterday, as seen in another thread), and I really hate that I get so angry at her for this. I know I won't have her for a whole lot longer and I don't want us both to be cranky at each other instead of having our usual mommy/dachshund bond.
    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

    Graphite/Pastel Portraits

  • #2
    Can you squirt her with a water bottle and a loud "NO, thank you."...although that is giving attention to it as well.

    To me, it seems like she has your number (much like my DD....). You eventually give in because you're tired of listening to it, right? Invest in a set of ear plugs and just ignore the heck out of her. She sounds like a smart girl. I love dachshunds and am insisting on pictures.

    Comment


    • #3
      Title thread: Help me not bite my owner.
      My owner is sweet but clueless. I am older so I need to pee more. My owner doesn't understand me. If she doesn't take me out, I will have to pee on the furniture. How can I get her to understand.
      Signed,
      PeedOff Doxie.
      Dear Doxie,
      Can you convince your nice butcluelesss owner to buy you an indoor pee pad?
      Go on the internet and print this out for her and leave it on the sofa
      http://www.amazon.com/PetZoom-Park-I.../dp/B002ZHRTAK
      Good luck.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        It's not the peeing; when she has to actually go, her bark is usually different and she usually dances at the door. I know she has to go more often and that's fine. I'm talking about when she's just been outside and she came in and now she wants attention, or wants to go back outside and eat poop, or is lying in her bed wanting someone to come pick her up, or wants to lick a cat bowl...

        As I said, she will occasionally pee on the floor or on her bed, but that's rare... it just happens enough that it keeps us questioning whether it's a legitimate "I need to go out" bark vs. "I need to go out so I can eat poop or maybe come in and get to lick a cat bowl."

        She does have our number... like I said, I refuse to pick her up when she's growling at me, but there are also times I have to give in, like when she's growling to get down from the couch (because I don't want her jumping down and hurting herself), or when she might need to go outside legitimately. So she gets occasionally rewarded for it, which is enough to reinforce it to the point where she does it constantly.
        "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

        Graphite/Pastel Portraits

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Superminion, here's the obligatory Christmas Dachshund picture. Sylvia is the long-hair and Seamus is the short-hair. (: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...3&l=581213abff

          And why she can get away with the crankiness: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...2&l=f45d2fbcc4
          "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

          Graphite/Pastel Portraits

          Comment


          • #6
            Squeee! Thank you... she's ADORABLE!

            I would try the water bottle trick then, but I'm no trainer. I'm sure that others will chime in with a lot better suggestions!

            Comment


            • #7
              Old animals are hard. I have gone through the aging process with dozens of animals (we are a multi-dog, multi-cat household, at all times!) and not every one goes senile, but the ones that do, it's heart-breaking. I've experienced it more with cats than dogs, but I currently have a cat who is 20, and lives in just two rooms. (Down from the very large farmhouse he used to roam.) If you try to remove him from those rooms to, say, sit on the couch with you, he gets genuinely panicked. He actually took it upon himself the other day to venture into the living room (a room he is very aware of as it's right next to his "territory", he just literally never crosses the threshold) as we were setting up the tree, as he used to love climbing in them, and he got "stuck" in a corner and started crying frantically until I went and scooped him up. It's very sad, but he is otherwise content as long as he stays in his two rooms, sleeping on the dog bed.

              I think you're right to try to be as patient as possible, and I don't agree that you're being a dumb owner, I completely understand being frustrated with certain actions even if you know they can't help it. (Ask me about my senile grandfather who was rolling out the racial slurs at the last family party with my sister's Indian boyfriend sitting two seats down. ) Try the waterbottle, and continue ignoring, but otherwise....just try to be as understanding as possible. Perhaps she can sleep in the bed with you guys? Or move her bed to the foot of your bed? Perhaps just being closer will comfort her and let her sleep longer.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Yeah, I think she's starting to have some issues with senility, but she's also losing her hearing and has trouble seeing out of one eye, so it's sometimes hard to tell whether she's mentally confused or forgetting something or if she's just a little disoriented by hearing or vision. She doesn't like sleeping in the bed all night, but in the morning if I hear her get up and go over to get a sip of water, I'll often pick her up and put her on our bed before she can start growling, and that usually gets her back to sleep for another hour or so... I agree, old pets (and people) are tough, balancing the frustration with patience...
                "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                Graphite/Pastel Portraits

                Comment


                • #9
                  Have you checked her for diabetes or Cushings? With her increase water consumption and peeing, I'd have her checked. My 16+ yr old poodle has some signs of Cushings: increased water consumption, urine, endless appetite, high alkaline phosphatase level in blood. She will also bark and become restless unless I feed her. Several times a day. It is very high maintenance, between needing to go out almost every hour while she is awake, feeding her 3-5 times a day (smaller portions, of course), but it is not her fault she is old and dealing with all kinds of old age issues - congestive hear failure, deafness, cataracts in one eye, etc. I am just glad I finally figured out why she barks, it is one "whoof" every 30 seconds and following me around when she is hungry. Despite all the food, she is not fat at all!
                  ___________________________________________
                  "Another member of the Barefoot Eventers Clique"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by clm08 View Post
                    Have you checked her for diabetes or Cushings? With her increase water consumption and peeing, I'd have her checked. My 16+ yr old poodle has some signs of Cushings: increased water consumption, urine, endless appetite, high alkaline phosphatase level in blood. She will also bark and become restless unless I feed her. Several times a day. It is very high maintenance, between needing to go out almost every hour while she is awake, feeding her 3-5 times a day (smaller portions, of course), but it is not her fault she is old and dealing with all kinds of old age issues - congestive hear failure, deafness, cataracts in one eye, etc. I am just glad I finally figured out why she barks, it is one "whoof" every 30 seconds and following me around when she is hungry. Despite all the food, she is not fat at all!
                    THIS^^^. Increased water consumption, peeing, and eating EVERYTHING all screams Cushings to me...

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Yep, this summer she was checked for *everything*--diabetes, Cushings, ultrasounds, etc. Nothing. I had really thought Cushings as well and was surprised. The peeing issues were much more of a problem in the summer, and a lot of the demand barking developed then (because she did legitimately need to go out all the time). Now the water drinking and peeing have decreased, so the vet figured it was due to the heat, but now the barking/growling have worked enough that she has kept that up even when it's not related to going out.

                      The excessive eating is just the hound thing, I think. (; She has to be on a really restricted diet because she's prone to weight gain and we have to be careful about that with her arthritis and previous hip/back issues. So even with baby carrots added to try to fill her up, she's still always hunting for food. But so is my other dachshund, who's in perfect health and weight...
                      "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                      Graphite/Pastel Portraits

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We had a blind, deaf, geriatric chihuahua that would follow me around by scent I guess. She liked to sit up and bark non-stop. She was cute tho...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have an old dog doing the same thing. She drives me nuts sometimes but I've had three times in her life where I nearly lost her, at least three-she's had an exciting life-and when she starts to drive me batty I very deliberately think about every time she was lost and how I felt when I got her back. I am not a very patient person but it works for me.

                          Plus yours is too cute to be mad at her.
                          “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Go to your vet and ask for work ups of the potentially medical issues causing excessive drinking and peeing, ask about "doggie dementia" - it IS a common problem with our elderly doggies (and there are meds available to treat it)

                            As a present to her and your sanity, consider getting her a toy "ball-bowl" where her dry food resides and she has to roll the thing around to get at it - it will keep her busy and eating and off of bothering you. The key is that it is NOT treats that go in there, but breakfast and dinner
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Is she a candidate for DES for the incontinence issues?

                              The rest...I get that there is a behavioral "manipulation" factor going on here, but could there also be a component of benign neglect?

                              The reason I ask is that I have one kind of similar. Our poodle. And he's young. But God help you if you don't get him enough exercise and mental stimulation. He'll act like he needs to go out, but all he wants to do when you get out is look around. He just wants stimulation.

                              Is she getting regular exercise, walks, play, etc? My operant phrase is "a good dog is a tired dog". Is she maybe just bored?

                              We went from having a few acres and a dog door to recently moving to a townhome, no yard to speak of. And if I am not on top of dog walking and play,our poodle just gets restless and tries to get attention--any is fine. Good or bad. He needs a lot more than just a pee break.

                              Maybe if she was getting more exercise, she'd settle a bit better?
                              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                              Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                MZM, I'll have to look into dementia drugs... I don't think she's quite there yet but it's nice to have those options if she starts to go downhill. She does have a Kong treat-dispensing ball; I often give her breakfast in it, but she can't have dinner in it because she gets a liquid supplement. (:

                                BuddyRoo, I think she probably is craving more stimulation... she used to be home alone all day and was fine, but now that I'm unemployed, she's used to having me around and to increased stimulation/attention. She normally likes to just wander around the yard, but in the winter she can't get out there through the snow, so I really should get better about taking her for "walks" (her walks are about two houses down and back, and take twenty minutes at her snail's pace... lol). She also gets more "adventures" now, like trips to go somewhere (visit the pet store, go for a ride, etc.), so she's gotten to expect something every day... I feel bad because I used to take her to the nursing home (she's got her therapy cert), but when she started having health issues I stopped. I don't think she can go to the nursing home still (too fragile to lift in their laps, too short to be petted easily by someone in a wheelchair), but I need to find another therapy gig for her. She really loves kids so I want to see if I can set up a read-to-the-dog program at the library, perhaps...

                                I also just gave her a deer antler for Christmas and she apparently loves it, so that's good--as I mentioned on the other thread, I couldn't find a chew for her that was actually safe from her eating it whole, so I think it will help to have an antler now for her to chew when she's bored!
                                "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                Graphite/Pastel Portraits

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Well maybe so you dont have to chase her when she wanders in the morning pee a leash may help? Also it may deter the morning bark. If she cant eat poop and wander outside in the morning, she may realize that morning is for potty not fun. Long shot but keeps you from having to go in the snow. Just a retractable leash that she can stretch out for her buisness and then come in.

                                  I also agree with the squirt idea.
                                  I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Can you pick up the poop, so she can't eat it because well that just gross. Plus maybe if there is no fun poop to eat then she won't demand to go outside to eat it.
                                    I love cats, I love every single cat....
                                    So anyway I am a cat lover
                                    And I love to run.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      The leash might be a good idea, I can try that... we do pick up poop once a day, but if she can't find any to eat, she will manufacture some. ): Blech...
                                      "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                      Graphite/Pastel Portraits

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        You can do the feed through stuff to make it taste horrible. I forget the brand we used to sell at the clinic...
                                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...

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