A deaf hound or two? So let me get the first point out, I love them and they are worth the extra work, they have given me so much over the years, I certainly would never begrudge them this in their golden years.
But having said that over the past while having a couple older dogs that are all getting deafer and deafer over the past year while living on a farm has proven a challenge.
One that everyone is up for but we are finding ourselves changing routines in so many little ways.. things like, how you wake them up, if they are lightly sleeping a foot stomp when upstairs will do the trick, but when on the cement floor or when they are sleeping on the couch’s and can’t feel the vibes, you need a different approach, now none of them have ever snapped at me but I think its just plain mean to “startle” them out of a sound sleep by touching them awake, so instead, I put my hand in front of their nose’s an wait, sure enough, in a few seconds to ten, they will get that nose going and will crack a eye open and smile at me..
Now I always had a firm rule that they move out my way, as I am the alpha hound but as they get older and older, I find myself either going around or stepping over when they are sleeping, I just don’t see the point of waking them
Treats are more carefully picked now for older teeth, and perhaps they are given out a little more often to a point, after all, how many more months or years am I going to see their eyes light up for me.
Snuggle time is given freely and found more time for same reason, but outside, well that’s a different matter, they no longer want to go on the big walks, they don’t want the long hard runs and they are happy to hang back and let the younger hounds do the herding, the farm work, the old loves would rather slowly roam the front yard area and bask in the sun on the deck or the front step, but in the past few months it has become even more then that, they will even ask to go back into the house to get back to their comfy couches and cooler temps on the basement floor, and who am I to say no..
We no longer call them or give the come command for them, as they won’t hear it, the young hounds will put the burn on and faithfully come at top speed to the house when called but the old ones, well they are now allowed to do their walks and then make their way back to the door and woof to be let back in.. yup instead of being the one who says in or out, I have become a doorman..
I can no longer trust that they will hear my commands in the pastures and in the barn when working with the bigger farm critters and in some cases they move far to slow to safely be around them, and so today I say out loud for the first time, that they are officially retired from being a farm dog and are now retired to being a house/yard old timer, as they laid their heads in a patch of sun to nap, the young hounds leaped and jumped with joy at being out with me, time to put that extra training, that extra farm dog polish on the next gen and they are game for it!