Chow friend getting older; behavior changing

Training and behavior topics, guidelines, and tips for Chow Chows.

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Chow friend getting older; behavior changing

Postby nuriochi_sol » Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:50 pm

My wife and I have a beautiful 11-year-old boy named Klang. He's a great friend, and I've only known him for a couple years. He's bonded to me in a way my wife didn't think possible. My wife did an amazing job socializing him in his youth and he's (relatively) well-behaved. I say relatively, because he's a bit stubborn, but nothing unusual in a chow. That's all a bit aside of the point. We have some concerns.

He's getting older and developed arthritis. He's also slipped a disk in his neck a few months ago and had been seeing a chiropractor. It's flared up again recently. Basically, he's in pain. We're working now on getting his pain managed better.

All this led to a rather uncharacteristic bout of aggressive barking last night at me and at his mom. He was giving us warnings. What has us concerned is how to read these warning signs, how to keep our eyes peeled for more behavior problems, how to best curb them given the pain he's in, etc.

This is EXTREMELY unusual behavior for him. Even when he initially threw out his back, he was never aggressive. He yelped but never barked or snapped at us. My wife is so upset she's considering the big "what if" - what if this is just the beginning, and he's on a road towards hurting someone. Frankly, I'm worried too. I've heard stories of older Chows (older dogs in general) changing and becoming much more aggressive and anti-social.

Ok, enough rambling - anyone have any advice, guidance, resources to turn to, etc.

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Re: Chow friend getting older; behavior changing

Postby Redalbi » Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:06 am


I am hoping that things have settled down a bit now.

My Albertz got athritis but in additon had a dejenative condition which meant his leg gave way under him. Over the period of 4 months got to stage he was really struggling to walk even small distances.

He went from being a very placid dog to aggressive at times. We found plt tablets def helped with the pain for a long time. Had tried different ones but these seemed best. Think reason his temperament changed was quite simply that he was in pain and obviously could not understand why legs not working right. He also started barking at night but this was due to fact he could not get up stairs to see us and felt stressed being away from us.

Albertz situation was different as we knew time would come where we would be left with no choice but to put him to sleep. However with athritis on its own can be managed by medication to help with pain. A lot of people also use joint sticks or tabs along with medication which help also.

I think it is also being a bit more careful with our older furry friends so as not to cause any unnecessary pain. Just not nice to see them getting older but happens to us all eh!!

Hope you are all okay

Take care


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Re: Chow friend getting older; behavior changing

Postby Victory » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:38 am

Hi, my girl will be 12 on the 14th of the month. A couple of months ago she was limping on her hind leg, scared me because she has an iffy knee on that leg. Fortuneately it has seemed to clear up, but when she goes to the vet in late April/Early May, I'm going to get some xrays done of basically her entire hind end. Older dogs suffer from many of the things that older humans have problems with, including Artheritis, hearing and vision loss, and forgetfullness. Knowing how severe their artheritis might be is essential because then you'll know if they need pain meds, or other treatments to help with it. Also older ones might need a warmer place to sleep to help those joints from stiffening up, and they also need a little more warm up time before walks.
A dog with hearing loss may actually not hear you in situations where he used to hear you. One with vision loss may not be able to see well in the dark anymore and will react aggressively if startled in the dark, turning on a light for him will help with this. My MingToy became like this, (he was 15 when I had to put him to sleep from cancer) he's developed cataracts and lost his night vision almost completly. If he is becoming a bit forgetful, stay calm with him talk to him gently and he'll remember and then probably be ashamed that he barked or growled at you.

With so many dogs, (and cats) living so much longer now, Vets are seeing more and more of these problems and while they can't be cured, a good Vet can help you identify the problem, and help you find ways to minimize it, (or them) sometimes it's a chriopatric treatment, sometimes pain meds and artheritic supplements, sometimes it's turning on a light or providing a warm soft bed. Mostly it's being observant, being calm and giving them time when they need it.
Victory, Darkwind, (our angel), Firesong, and Dreamdancer
Thank you SweetPea!

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Re: Chow friend getting older; behavior changing

Postby Yvonne » Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:45 am

It's hard to tell what's really going on when they may be in pain, because chows are naturally so stoic. has some slings, etc. that are specially measured for your particular chow that can help in cases of arthritis and movement that is otherwise painful. The wheelchairs themselves are somewhat expensive, but the front or rear slings aren't that bad in price.

Also, they sometimes change due to older age and senility. Mine did this, I think. It kind of hurt my feelings at first, but then I realized that there are people all over that just can't believe their dear, sweet grandmother, mother, aunt, or grandpa would ever act the way they do when they get senile, so the sooner I got over it the better off me and Brandon (my chow chow) would both be. I just decided to accept it as a part of life, just as people do when a human relative they have loved dearly gets ornery at the end. The way I saw it with Brandon is that it was my job to love him to the end as best I could. I hope I did right for him.

But the problem is, if there is a lot of pain involved that can't be alleviated, that is a different situation. The question is where is the grouchiness coming from, and that is very hard to determine.

Best of luck and let us know how things are going.

Brandon's Mom - even now that he's at the Bridge.

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