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Thread: Elderly dog sudddenly started barking at night.

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Elderly dog sudddenly started barking at night.

    I have two border collies who have lived outside all of their lives. They only come in at bonfire and at new year when there are fireworks.

    The oldest is 14 and 8 months and the younger one will turn 13 on the 21st of this month. They are mother and daughter.

    The older one, Mist, is going a bit deaf these days but can still hear you speak to her when you are relatively close and can obviously still hear fireworks and thunder etc...
    In the last few months, she has started getting quite vocal, whinging and whining often during the day and barking at night. She isn't very loud and does it from inside the kennel but I don't want it to start being an issue. My brother and his GF and their kids next door haven't heard her at all but I am losing sleep over it and I worry other people might hear.

    At her age, I know she's not going to be around that much longer. Apart from arthritis, she is ok but the arthritis will get the better of her soon no doubt and anything else could happen suddenly as we all know.
    I have a plastic box muzzle like what greyhounds wear in their kennels and I found that putting one of these on Mist when she barks helps to shut her up without stopping her from drinking and all the rest but I don't like doing it and I'm also not sure how long the effect it has will last.
    The other dog is fine and they are kept together and she's always been fine before so why start now at this age?
    I can't bring her in because the parents won't allow full stop and I can't afford to move out. I can't rehome her at this age. She wouldn't cope with somebody else now and it's just too long to have owned her. 14 and a half years is a long time. I'll need a month off work when she dies.

    I take them for a walk 2 or 3 times daily and the last one is as late as I can get it, about 10 pm, but I still find her start barking in the early hours. It's only since December that I've heard her barking at night and she doesn't do it everynight. In fact, there are more nights she doesn't than when she does but she never used to do it at all.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Is it possible that she's barking because she cannot hear well anymore, so is lonely not hearing the sounds around her?
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3
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    I would think the problem is that at her age, she's feeling the effects of
    age is maybe in pain when she tries to rest outside. maybe she is feeling
    or sensing change in the enviroment. Any changes in her outside enviroment?
    More people passing by,,etc? If you don't have your dogs on any joint
    suppliment medicine, maybe you should look into that too.
    I've Been Boo'd

    I've been Frosted






    Men, it has been well said, think in herds. It will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
    — Charles Mackay, Scottish journalist, circa 1841

  4. #4
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    Has something changed in the area which could be getting her attention? Especially since it is not every night and not something the other dog in with her senses. Sounds like it is early morning that she starts this? Like did the milk truck change its route (does anyone even still HAVE milk delivered??) That kind of thing? Just a possibility to consider.
    Thank you Karen, for fixing my siggy!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karen
    Is it possible that she's barking because she cannot hear well anymore, so is lonely not hearing the sounds around her?
    I agree- also- both dogs are senior citizens- and maybe they also can not see well enough to determine things are okay. At their age, my personal opinion- they deserve to be inside at least at night...

  6. #6
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    I've not noticed any changes. Her hearing is probably too poor to hear traffic out on the fronts now really.

    I have had her on glucosamine sulphate for years now and also cod liver oil and she is also on metacam from the vets but I don't think thats making much of a difference. I'm thinking of going back to see if there is anything else we can try on her.

    The idea that her advancing deafness might be making things a little "Too" quiet for comfort is a viable idea, I suppose. I know she can still hear things closer up but most of the little sounds at night are further away and quieter like owls hooting, other dogs barking maybe, the odd car driving past, cats fighting, lol and just the general sound of breeze against foliage etc... I'll ask the vets if they've ever heard of it happening before. If it is that, I don't suppose there is anything they could do about it?

    This evening, I have put her in the shed. She's been in there before without problems so I know she'll be ok. I made a comfy bed for her and put a dish of water in there. She went for a walk and we got back at about 5 past 10 and I gave her an evening meal along with her glucosamine tablet.
    I think I have heard her yap in the shed a couple of times but I suppose it will be quieter and more muffled in there at least. I'll take her out first thing tomorrow and put her back with Jess.

    As for eyesight, I have not noticed any real degeneration there. She can still see me easily enough even from quite a distance when we are on the field for example and can still see where she is going at night. I'm sure her eyesight isn't what it used to be but I don't think it has gone really poor.

    Thanks for answering guys. Anymore comments or suggestions are welcome.

  7. #7

    Smile

    My friend who owns a Spaniel has a 12 yr old dog that lost most of her hearing last year. She had the same problem. I started noticing how she was whining one day and my friend ignored her. I asked why she didn't take the dog to the vet as it seemed in pain. That's when she told me that the vet said a lot of dogs going deaf or completely deaf do this, and theyalso bark. It seems that the dogs reassure themselves in that manner since they feel the vibrations and hear their own voices. Now my cousin's Bichon is doing it and she says the same thing.
    But I would definitely say to bring her inside near and dear for the rest of her days, A dog needs to be with it's human friends, not alone in a doghouse.

  8. #8
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    Night blindness, just like in people, shows up in dogs earlier than other problems with sight.. I would check it out, or bring the dogs inside.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by mike001
    My friend who owns a Spaniel has a 12 yr old dog that lost most of her hearing last year. She had the same problem. I started noticing how she was whining one day and my friend ignored her. I asked why she didn't take the dog to the vet as it seemed in pain. That's when she told me that the vet said a lot of dogs going deaf or completely deaf do this, and theyalso bark. It seems that the dogs reassure themselves in that manner since they feel the vibrations and hear their own voices. Now my cousin's Bichon is doing it and she says the same thing.
    But I would definitely say to bring her inside near and dear for the rest of her days, A dog needs to be with it's human friends, not alone in a doghouse.
    This is true. Deaf dogs are known to bark more than their hearing counterparts. My hard of hearing boy had a huge barking problem. I wasn't prepared to deal with that! My boy can hear his bark, so I think that's comforting. The totally deaf guys can feel the vibrations.

    Another thing is senliity. I believe some dogs bark when they get older just because they are becoming a bit senile. You see it in people, too, who will talk constantly as their minds weaken. And, all of the physical problems mentioned with old age are also to be considered.

    I think you will find a solution. The shed sounds like a good option. I was thinking of the garage. As the dogs age, you also need to take into consideration their need for warmer quarters.

    Good luck.
    MACH Aslan RE, MX, MXJ, EAC, EJC, OCC, Wv-N, TN-N, TG-N, R-SN, J-SN, R2-CL, CGC, TDI, FFX-AG (five year old sheltie)
    Jericho OA, NAJ, R1-MCL, CGC, FFX-AP (three year old sheltie)
    Laika NAJ, CGC (nine year old retired American Eskimo)


    I've been defrosted.

  10. #10
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    This is very common in older and deaf and/or blind dogs. We have several old dogs that come into the shop and we have to lock alot of them in the back because they are too noisy to keep out front. They will usually bark whether you are grooming them or they are put away.
    I've been BOO'd!

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by mike001
    My friend who owns a Spaniel has a 12 yr old dog that lost most of her hearing last year. She had the same problem. I started noticing how she was whining one day and my friend ignored her. I asked why she didn't take the dog to the vet as it seemed in pain. That's when she told me that the vet said a lot of dogs going deaf or completely deaf do this, and theyalso bark. It seems that the dogs reassure themselves in that manner since they feel the vibrations and hear their own voices. Now my cousin's Bichon is doing it and she says the same thing.
    But I would definitely say to bring her inside near and dear for the rest of her days, A dog needs to be with it's human friends, not alone in a doghouse.
    I agree with Mike. I have heard this too. I also think you might be making things worse if you put her in a shed (in the dark, I'm sure) by herself. Now she doesn't have the companionship of another dog and she's alone in the dark. That's not going to make it better. They really do need to be with humans, especially at that age. If you absolutely need to put her in the shed, put a nightlight (or some kind of light) in there and put the other dog with her.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by angelchampy
    I agree with Mike. I have heard this too. I also think you might be making things worse if you put her in a shed (in the dark, I'm sure) by herself. Now she doesn't have the companionship of another dog and she's alone in the dark. That's not going to make it better. They really do need to be with humans, especially at that age. If you absolutely need to put her in the shed, put a nightlight (or some kind of light) in there and put the other dog with her.
    Good point. Also, dog proof the shed.
    MACH Aslan RE, MX, MXJ, EAC, EJC, OCC, Wv-N, TN-N, TG-N, R-SN, J-SN, R2-CL, CGC, TDI, FFX-AG (five year old sheltie)
    Jericho OA, NAJ, R1-MCL, CGC, FFX-AP (three year old sheltie)
    Laika NAJ, CGC (nine year old retired American Eskimo)


    I've been defrosted.

  13. #13
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    Hi all.

    Thanks for the answers. I've been looking up the deafness thing and I mentioned it to my mum who said she knew somebody years ago who's dog did the same when it went deaf. That dog lived indoors but still did it.
    We've had dogs previously that went deaf in old age but, fortunately, they didn't develop the barking issue.

    If I had my way, I'd find somewhere in the house to put them at night but, trust me, there is no way no how am I going to convince the parents, in particular the stepdad, to let them come in on a night. We have an enclosed insulated porch against the house but he doesn't even like them in there, says they leave a doggy smell which he hates and also the cats spend the night in there and we couldn't leave them all in the same place.
    The kitchen floor is lino and Mist can't really stand up on it properly because her legs just slide out from under her. She can walk across the kitchen ok but if she's actually in there and has to get up from a laying position on it, she has such difficulty.

    As for the shed, it was built as a potting shed and for putting plants in too and has windows all along the front from half way up to the roof so it's only dark in there at night anyway and she will be with Jess for the rest of the time. It is even darker in her kennel because they have carpet strips that hang down in front of the openings to keep out draughts and would also be dark in the house at night so there's no real difference regarding light levels.
    She stayed in there last night and wasn't any worse than usual but her bark is much more muffled so it won't be heard by other people.
    I cleared it out and removed anything that could fall on her or be dangerous.
    I can mention to the stepdad about providing her with some extra light although light pollution on it's own will stop it being pitch black in the shed even at night.

    I know it isn't good for dogs to be with humans 24/7 because this can cause seperation anxiety and over dependence. Spending the night on their own is better in that respect. I'd like to create more opportunities for them to be with me more in the day but it is so hard in winter when the garden is all saturated and such, you can't really spend any time in it. In summer, the dogs spend all day on the garden and flake out under the small tree on the top lawn out of the sun and I walk them during cooler times. At the moment, they can't spend time out on the garden because it's so wet and horrid.

    fortunately, we've had it so mild this winter in the UK this year. Not a single snowflake around here put it that way. When I do bring the dogs into the house at bonfire, they just lay and pant and drink tons of water and I think this would cause Mist to not be able to hold herself for several hours at night as well. She'd end up doing it on the floor. At bonfire, I had to take them out on the lawn regularly throughout the evening.

    When she goes for a walk, she wears a weather proof coat and, at home, she wears a kennel rug. Jess also wears a weather proof coat if it is raining when I walk them but Jess is very fit and mobile for her age. No sign of arthritis on her. Most people don't think she is as old as she is.

    Also, being as she can still hear closer up or louder stuff, what about playing some music quietly to give her something to hear? I know that night time can be deadly quiet whether you're in the house, outside or wherever.
    I'm not sure what I'd play the music with or how I'd power the appliance, lol. Would have to figure that out.

  14. #14
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    Just as in people other animals senses get stronger when another sense is getting weaker. Maybe with her hearing going with age she is more sensitive to vibration. My mother has a jack russell that we think has hearing problems as she feels every movement with her body, such as vibrations from thunder long before there is even a storm in site. She spins in circles on the floor barking at the ground as if she thinks it is coming from the ground. I guess to her it is if she does not hear the sound from above. Maybe your dog is feeling the vibration from something that is causing her to bark and she may feel vonerable due to her age and arthritis. Just a thought. I agree with the above that they should really be inside.

  15. #15
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    There is no way they'll ever be able to come inside. Not a chance. I can beg until I am blue in the face but there is no way the parents will ever allow them in. Also, when they do come in such as at bonfire, they just pant and drink a lot more water like I stated above. They aren't used to the central heating. Another, younger daughter of Mists was kept indoors and she had to be put down in June last year due to a womb infection that spread to her kidneys and she was about 2 weeks off her 10th birthday so I don't think that Jess and Mist have done too bad. I know that being indoors didn't cause her illness but being indoors doesn't prevent anything really and make them healthier. I don't think being outdoors has done our Jess any harm. She is fitter and healthier than many dogs several years younger than her. Obviously, she could come down with anything not even related to arthritis at her age but that could happen no matter what. It's just one of those things.
    I admit, I'd like them to be able to come in more just to be with them more if the weather is bad but it won't happen here unfortunately. No amount of people saying they should be brought in will change a thing regarding how my parents feels about it. Also, if she did come in and barked at night in the house..now that WOULD keep everyone in our house awake.

    Anyway, it seems that Mist is unable to hold herself from 10pm until first thing the next morning and is peeing in the shed. I had a feeling this would happen so I am putting down layers of newspaper with a sheet of waterproof plastic at the base for her to pee on then I can just change it every morning. I doubt she'll learn how to hold herself now at her age and I don't think she is able to anyway due to age. I think she has just gotten a bit incontinent.

    I didn't hear her bark last night btw. I haven't heard her today either but it has rained all day. Been very miserable.

    We haven't had any storms or fireworks, other than on new years eve when I brought the dogs in, cetainly nothing that would have worried Mist when her hearing was perfect. I think now that it is more down to creating some sound for herself to break the deadly silence because she doesn't seem to do it so much if it is windy and bad weather that creates enough sound, she does it most when it is calm and quiet. Also, if there are fireworks or thunder, she doesn't bark then either or whine even. She gets worried and you can see it but not vocal.

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