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Older Dogs Need Treats Too

As my dog Rosa is getting older, I’m noticing that it’s harder for her to get around. Once she is up, she moves around pretty smoothly. But getting up doesn’t always seem like the easiest thing for her. This is common for older dogs. Dogs, just like people, slow down with age. If you’ve got a dog that’s no longer a puppy you may be noticing this slow down as well. In my home, the issue would begin in the evenings. As we’re getting ready for bed I like to let Rosa out one last time to make sure she doesn’t need to be let out in the middle of the night. As she’s gotten older, it’s gotten increasingly difficult to get her to actually get up. She’s 15 now and this past year she’s really started showing the slow down. Throughout the majority of her life I didn’t need to use food rewards to get her to go out at night. Going outside was always motivating enough for her and she would be ready to go as soon as I invited her. But now, her mobility issues are making it so that going outside isn’t motivating enough for her to actually get up once she has settled in for the night on her bed.

Now, when I’m ready to get her out one last time, I ask her to “touch” my hand and I follow that with a food reward. This gets her up and rewards her for doing so. Next, I get her outside and I reward her for following me out there. And lastly, I reward her once we get back inside. I’m doing all of this to make it as easy on me as possible and to make it as pleasant an experience for her as possible. As your dog is getting older you may notice similar things. Instead of expecting them to continue to act like they did when they were young, it’s important to adjust your expectations and realize that things may be harder for them. This means we need to make things easier for them and motivate them more. Life is short and older dogs need treats too.

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