Dealing with the Grumps

As a self confessed curmudgeon, I’d like to take a moment to discuss an excellent point made by dog-awesome trainer Casey Lomonaco of Rewarding Behaviors Dog Training on Facebook yesterday; the general gist of which, was, (and I’m paraphrasing here,) that it’s normal for dogs to get a bit grumpy as they get older. She was making a particular point about meeting new dogs and engaging in certain types of play, but the argument still holds for different contexts as well.

No animal is immune to the aches and pains brought on by the passage of time; nor are they inoculated against the irritability inflicted by the “annoying” conduct of the housemates they’ve shared the millennia with. The simple fact of the matter is that our muscles aren’t the only thing that that lose elasticity with age.

When your dog start showing a bit of grump, take note of it and watch to see what the triggers are. It’s also not a bad time for a visit with the vet to see if there are underlying problems that may have slipped our notice. In addition here are a few things I’ve found that help alleviate the grumps.

Mental & Physical Exercise

When a dogs needs aren’t being meant, they tend to get grumpy. An engaged dog tends to have less to be grumpy about.

Down Time

While this may seem to contradict the previous paragraph, it’s really makes sense if you thing about it. We all need sanity breaks from the rest of the world on occasion. Just like us, dogs need some quiet time away from the din of their housemates, especially if you have a household with older and younger animals (canine and human) all mixed together.

One on One Time

Another good idea is to make sure that all dogs in your house, no matter their age, get some alone time with you. Short, individual training or play sessions work wonders to alleviate the competition for attention in a busy household, helping to reduce over-boisterous attention displays. As the sessions become more routine, the competition should be on the wane.

Patience and Planning

Finally, remember that yelling at, or scolding the grumpy only serves to cement the reason they were grumpy in the first place, at least I know that’s how it works on me. Identify the reason for persistent grumpiness and put a plan in place to alleviate it.

If you have grump assuaging methods, please share them with us.