In my last article I talked about Slink being stuck in her ways. Despite liking her routine and consistency, I have also seen her adapt to changes in her life that have occurred due to her aging process.
Slink used to go with me just about everywhere, from hiking to riding my horse to even running errands. She was always waiting for the ok to go from the house to the yard, and then the ok to go from the yard to the garage and jump in the car. Though she still gets to come with me a lot, there are times that she can’t always go with me anymore. Either because the hike will be too difficult for her, because she doesn’t do well when it is warm outside anymore, or because she can’t hear so can’t be around the horses anymore. At first, this was heartbreaking for both of us! I’d get ready to leave, and she’d start to follow me. I’d feel so bad when I had to leave her behind, and she’d look with those big eyes, begging to still come along. What I noticed after a few months of this is that she started to realize that she couldn’t always come along. Now she stays lying on her bed, waiting to see if I am going to give her the ok to come along. If I don’t, she seems quite content laying on her bed in the air conditioning! Though, if she does get the ok, she seems quite happy that she gets to come along. Every once in a while I catch her watching me leave by just sticking her head out the doggie door and watching me go from the yard to the garage, but not trying to follow me. She seems to have adjusted to her new routine of keeping an eye on the house while I’m gone!
The other change Slink has adjusted to is being leashed! She used to spend a lot of time off leash – either out hiking, at dog beaches, or at dog parks. She used to enjoy a good run off leash, chasing rabbits and squirrels. But, now when she does get to go on a walk or hike, she has to be on leash since she can’t hear, it just isn’t safe for her to be off leash. She now seems content to enjoy the scenery, trotting along, sniffing the sides of the trail and taking it all in, just at a slower pace.
Though aging dogs like their routines, they really can learn new routines and adjust to their own age related limitations. However, it is important that they still get mentally stimulated and some physical activity. Be sure they still get to go on walks, even if they are short distances, and still have toys to play with and interactions with their favorite people and other animals.
Stay tuned for more stories about Slink and living with an old dog!