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Game Time or Old Dog Seeks Tricks

My dog is gradually losing her eyesight. She's an older dog so it isn't a shock, but it is an adjustment to both of us. Cleo is constantly relearning her routes, and relearning distances between objects and her nose. During her navigation, she is learning to listen to our guiding words. Probably due to her arthritis, and I'd like to think her canine wisdom, she takes a slower pace now. No more racing wildly down the hall towards the front door.

With her senior years here, we are finding new ways to play. She was never one to play much fetch, so getting a ball with a bell inside isn't necessary. Her squeaky toys are still fun, but not as often. We searched around for ways to play, and keep her brain stimulated, that were fun for her personality but also safe. We created our own version of a favorite childhood game, but modified for old, slow, half-blind dogs, who are loved like crazy.

 

image from www.grouchypuppy.com
Cleo captures "the flag" during Hide and Seek

 Game Time

”Hide and Seek” has been a fun way to stimulate Cleo without worry. She will tell me quickly whether she is bored, or if the game is too hard.

  • Call your dog from another room and give her a tasty, yummy treat when she finds you. 
  • At first you might need to help her by tapping your toe on the ground to give her a sound to navigate by.
  • This is your house, so she may not find you easily because your scent is all over the place already. Be patient.
  • If possible, you might use a stinky treat that she loves to motivate her forward.
  • Watch your dog for signs of confusion. It is supposed to be a fun game not stressful.
  • Let your dog use her natural sense of touch and smell as long as possible before helping. Let her steer her own ship!
  • If you notice any confusion though, give your dog clues with small sounds. I lightly clap my hands.

This game keeps our dog acquainted with the lay of the land, and her routes for quickly moving between rooms.

As you can see from the photo, my dog enjoys capturing the flag, known as my head.

Do you try teaching your dog new tricks? Have you modified games for your older dog?

 

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