Friday, September 23, 2011

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks is a Requirement when Downsizing to a Condo!

A Realtor friend of mine was telling me awhile back about clients downsizing from their family home with a big yard to a townhome. There were many expected changes and challenges in downsizing but one unexpected dilemma involved Tuffy, their little gray wire-haired, terrier-type dog who had the run of their home.

Every townhome they went to had to allow dogs in the association by-laws. Since Tuffy was not a large sized canine, breed restrictions were not going to be an issue. But much loved, dogs can be pretty spoiled. Tuffy would dart out the door with a welcoming bark every time my friend came to the door. He was a good dog, as he didn’t leave his half acre yard, but now Tuffy wasn’t going to be able to leave the patio. Running up and barking at neighbors is a big no-no in a condo association.

In fact, many associations have several rules about dogs and this place had a list of rules that Tuffy must obey in order to be a good townhome canine. His owners had to submit a mug shot of his cute black and gray face, so the association could tell which pets belong in the area and which did not. He was going to have to be on a leash or tie-out at all times. And he would have to have copies of his license and documentation that his shots were up to date on file.

Now that leash thing was going to be a problem. Tuffy, like his owners, fell into the senior citizen category. It was time to teach an old dog some new tricks…or remind him who was boss of the family (and it was no longer Tuffy) so that he could make a good impression on all his new neighbors. Fortunately, Tuffy had been trained previously and though his manners were a bit rusty, Ang and Donna started working with him several weeks before the move. Tuffy had to start wearing his training collar at all times but they didn’t use it often. A reward system of treats helped the little dog remember all his new rules.

My friend assured me that Tuffy is a happy senior dog in his new home. It was a bit of a transition but made much easier since Tuffy’s owners chose to start preparing their spoiled little dog early for the new rules. This made the move as stress-free as possible for both dog and owners. Finding and unpacking all of Tuffy’s little dog toys should be the only worry now!

OldDogPaws offers 7 helpful tips to ease your senior dog’s stress and help him make a smooth, stress-free transition to the condo-lifestyle

1. Start Training Early
Don’t think of this as a way to punish Fido. A training collar is all about
keeping your older pet safe in his new environment. Pull out that training collar and let him know that you mean business. He has to relearn to walk on a leash and not bark at everything and everyone.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice
At least a month before the move, start your daily walk with the leash being attached before exiting the house. Make sure Fido knows that darting out the door will no longer be tolerated.

3. Tied out Trials
Every time you sit on the deck or patio, first hook up Fido to his tie-out so he can get used to being tied-up. Many people don’t use these in fenced yards but most condo associations will have this restriction.

4. Reward Good Behavior
As Fido learns the rules, the training collar can come off and the treats or reward system can begin.
5. Keep License Up-to-Date
Most associations will require all pets to have to have all shots and local licensing up to date and of file.

6. Snap a Good Photo
Not quite a mug shot, but many associations will want a photo of all pets on file so they know which pet belongs to which association member.

7. Find Area Dog Parks
Research your new neighborhood to see if there is a leash-free dog park in the area where Fido can have a quick and safe run once in awhile to burn off all that pent up stress from being good in his new surroundings.

By taking the time to prepare your senior dog for the change to condo-living, it won't be long before your pet will enjoy his new home and surroundings as much as you will.

Copyright 2011 OldDogPaws

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Senior Dog Speechless Sunday--Watching and Waiting

Old dogs tend to be a bit more patient than when they were pups. They can relax and just watch and wait for whatever comes along. That is one of the reasons having a senior dog in your life is so special.

Copyright 2011 Old Dog Paws

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Year-round Heartworm Preventative--Is it Necessary for an Older Dog?

When our dog, Tikki, was just a pup, we would bring him to the vet every spring for his physical and annual heartworm test. We live in a northern mid-western state where it doesn't really warm up until late April and are relatively mosquito free until this time. Starting in May, we would give him his once a month "treat" and had the little red heart sticker stuck on the family calendar as a monthly minder of his next dose.

This was the process  for the first seven or eight years of Tikki's life. But one spring the vet prescribed 12 doses instead of the usual 6-8. When questioned, he said that it was more prudent to keep protected year round then the annual spring blood test would be less necessary. In talking further with the doctor, I explained that Tikki was mostly an indoor dog and we were religious about giving him his medication monthly during the summer when mosquitoes were most active in our state. I preferred giving my senior dog time off from medications during the winter months when exposure was almost nil. So we opted to buy the six month supply and retest for heartworm in the spring. In talking with Tikki's vet, I found out  it is critical to retest every year for heartworm if your dog is not on a year round preventative. Giving the medication to a dog that tests positive for heartworms can have serious adverse affects.

Whether heartworm medication is necessary year-round  is a great debate as heartworm medication can be hard on senior dogs. It is an essential discussion to have with your vet because if your dog gets infected, heartworms can cause death. Be proactive and informed about heartworm risks in your area. Discuss your older dog's health and any possible side affects of medications with your vet to determine what is the best plan of action to keep your senior dog happy and healthy.

For Additional Info on Heartworm Protection CLICK HERE