Author Topic: Do they become more naughty with age?  (Read 118 times)

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Offline Mari

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Do they become more naughty with age?
« on: January 11, 2019, 12:41:07 PM »
Just wondering what experiences you all have with older dogs and obedience, especially recall? Is the myth true, do they develop selective hearing and become less obedient as seniors? Or is it just about us owners being lazy with training and not refreshing old commands enough? What do you think?

Background for my question (long, so you don't need to read it all to answer): My girl can be insecure and reactive towards strangers, so I have always put a lot of effort into training a reliable recall. This way I can have her off lead and be sure she does not run up to anyone we don't know.
Her recall on walks has been fantastic for a decade, she is such a good girl. The only times she has ever ignored a recall is when she has found something she deems edible, but she never strayed far even then.
Lately she has taken off a couple of times on walks in the woods. I am so scared of her getting stuck, or lost, or reacting to other hikers. Her hearing and vision is no longer perfect, so it is more important than ever for her to stay close.
I have started training recall as if she was a teenager. And she has become more attentive to me on walks again. But she still has these weird zoomies where she seems completely deaf and runs full speed into the woods. I don't know if it's a scent she goes after or if she just goes a little insane temporarily, either way it's a new behaviour for her to run so far that I cannot see or hear her.
I suppose I should just be happy I have a 12 year old fit enough to be naughty and run around like a teen, but I am also worried about her!

Offline Ben's mum

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Re: Do they become more naughty with age?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2019, 02:24:42 PM »
If I am honest I never thought of it as naughtiness, Ben did this a few times as he got older - it was almost like an anxiety thing, he would suddenly start running as if looking for us, but we were right there, he didn't seem to be able to see or hear us calling.  On one occasion he ran right past us looking for us.  At that point about 10 or 11 his sight and hearing were not as good as thy had been but he wasn't completely deaf then.  He later did go deaf and I put him on the long line.  like your girl he was physically fit and could still move at speed so I worried he would run off and I would not be able to catch him.

I really didn't think it was bad behaviour or poor recall, it just seems a little like he was disorientated?

Offline lescef

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Re: Do they become more naughty with age?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2019, 02:39:44 PM »
Maddie is eight. Her recall has never been good and I've read several times recently that training needs to be worked on for the whole of their lives.
That said, in the last year she has started doing things more often than she used to.
My two have always slept in their crates with no problem at all. Maddie now refuses point blank to go in there. I would have to physically lift her to get her in. She won't even go in for a treat. Why? I don't know as they have always been their safe haven.
She has always been taught to stay at the bottom of the stairs when I go up but she has started running up and rummaging through the bin for tissues or stealing my slipper . I know the slipper stealing is done for a swop treat, but eight years later??
She has never been bothered jumping onto the sofa to sleep, but occasionally likes a cuddle on my knee. Several times now I've walked in to find her on the sofa! You could say she's pushing her luck and I could be stricter with her,  but hey ho,  she's not doing any damage so she's getting away with it.
Lesley, Maddie and Bramble

Offline Mari

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Re: Do they become more naughty with age?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2019, 04:31:50 PM »
I really didn't think it was bad behaviour or poor recall, it just seems a little like he was disorientated?
Interesting, I guess I am kind of hoping it's bad behaviour because I can train that. But I do worry it is age/health related. First time it happened, I wondered if she had gone completely deaf. I was shouting at the top of my lungs (panicked), even after I found her I shouted her name and no reaction. But then the next day she heard me open a bag of treats from the next room so... :005:  Poor Ben, searching for you, If that happens I will probably have to resort to a long line like you did. It looked more like she was following a scent, but couldn't figure out where it went that first time. She was very intense and even after I put the leash on she kept pulling in all directions and ignoring me. We walked a while before she finally calmed down enough to respond to me. I thought she must have seen a deer or a cat, but now that she has acted like that a few times I'm not sure. Will have to look for signs of disorientation and keep checking her hearing and sight regularly.


You could say she's pushing her luck and I could be stricter with her,  but hey ho,  she's not doing any damage so she's getting away with it.
I wonder (and hope) that our answer is right there. They've known us for so long they know they can get away with it  ;) I have the same attitude towards obedience, as long as there is no damage/danger I let it slide. I feel like they've earned the right to have a say in day to day operations. So maybe these behaviours are because we dont train them as much and we don't worry as much about "correct" behaviour as we did when they were younger.