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Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. I wish I knew how old your dog is, because what you are describing sounds as if it could be Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, or a type of “doggy Alzheimer’s.” It tends tro occur in older animals (and “older” varies by breed/combination of breeds). You may notice other signs such as general slowing down, a bit of confusion, not responding (as you noted), etc. I would bring her to the vet for a physical and neurological exam. Help may be available if she does have this condition.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

When someone is inclined to believe in the paranormal, some dogs may exhibit behaviors that make it look like they are perhaps sensing an apparition is nearby,” says Dr. Mary Burch, director of the AKC Family Dog Program and a certified animal behaviorist.
Historically, signs of hallucination occur in dogs when they`re struggling with epilepsy or seizures. Hallucinations are often a precursor to epilepsy, so in a way, the cause of hallucinations are a warning sign of what`s to come. Focal seizures are the biggest cause of this, as well as liver problems.
There will be lots of sniffing and licking, a dog`s attempt at healing. You can also expect a ton of barking, howling, and vocalizations, an attempt by your dog to get your attention about what they know. Watch for lots of following around, extra attention, and melancholy behavior from your doggo, too.
When it comes to telling the difference between good and evil, dogs are able to get a vibe from the way in which a person behaves, their tone, and their body language. Their instinct and senses also enable them to determine when a person or thing it evil or good.
Similar to humans, dogs can stare to interact with you, gather information, or communicate an idea. These types of staring can be interpreted by the context in which they happen. When your dog is staring at nothing, this might be a sign of anxiety or pain, or potentially be a signal of dementia.
Not only down to routine changes stress at night can also be linked to your dog`s health. If your dog becomes anxious at night time it may also be the result of underlying medical conditions. As a dog ages, an older dog may start suffering from doggy dementia, known as CDS cognitive dysfunction syndrome.
Sometimes the reason why a dog stares at a wall is simply because they see or hear something. In other cases, this behavior may actually be a sign of confusion or cognitive dysfunction, a seizure disorder, or a habitual behavior that has developed over time.
Staring also occurs when your dog is trying to get your attention or tell you something. For example, if it`s time for a potty break, your dog might sit by the door and gawk at you. Or, if your dog is hungry and you`re eating, staring can indicate a desire for you to share your food.
When it comes to the possibility of their own death, they are at least aware that they are not feeling well or are sick. They can also sense our levels of stress and know that something is wrong. However, canine companions are not as self-assessing as humans about death.
The Bottom Line

While there is no definitive scientific evidence to support the idea that dogs can sense evil, there are countless stories of dogs who have seemingly sensed danger and taken action to protect their owners.

Dogs Can Understand Body Language and Changes in Routine

“When a normally active owner gets in bed in the middle of the day or takes to the couch and doesn`t move, the dog knows something isn`t quite right,” she says. “Depending on the illness, the owner may be exhibiting symptoms that are easy for the dog to detect.

You could say dogs are super-sleuths when it comes to picking up good and bad vibes. They are great judges of people and can easily spot a person with ill-intentions. They can also tell when an earthquake or storm is on its way. Our woofers are tuned into this vast universe and gifted with powerful senses.
In dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction, Sundowner Syndrome can lead to confusion, restlessness, agitation, repetitive pacing, barking for no apparent reason, irritability, or neediness (causing otherwise independent dogs to become “velcro dogs” as night approaches).
For instance, dogs have very sensitive hearing, and as a result, they can become easily restless at night from loud noises. Thunderstorms and fireworks are several examples of loud noises that are known to exacerbate a dog`s anxiety. Exposure to different environments may also cause them to be fearful.
Cognitive dysfunction is a common reason for night time waking in our older dogs. This is generally a slow, progressive disorder that is similar to dementia in people. The hallmarks of the disease are increasing confusion, reversal of day-night wake sleep patterns and poor adaptability to new situations.
Your dog may growl at nothing if it has heard, seen, or smelled anything, if it is ill or hurt, or if you have unintentionally encouraged the behavior. In fact, there are a variety of factors you might take into account when attempting to determine why your dog behaves in this manner.
Dogs most commonly whine when they`re seeking attention, when they`re excited, when they`re anxious or when they`re trying to appease you.
Dogs who follow you to the bathroom

As their owner, you are the one who meets most of their needs, including for affection, so following is a sign of this attachment. They may also be waiting for routines they enjoy such as a walk or dinner time.

When you kiss your dog, you might notice signs suggesting they recognize a kiss as a sign of affection. However, as puppies, this is not something they would understand. But, as dogs age they may associate kisses and cuddles with their owners being happy with them — as petting and treats often follow.
Necromones are a type of pheromone discharged from dying or decaying animals. Researchers believe that dogs can identify necromones in sick people and animals, including their canine companions.
Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it`s a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they`re stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!
Dogs don`t remember time in quite the same way we do, they`re completely unaware of the Gregorian calendar and lots of dog owners don`t know their true dog`s birthday (the 1st August is often used for rescue and shelter dogs).

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. Our dog last night seemed like she was seeing ghost. She didn’t seem like her self. Starring at walls moving irritable. Didn’t respond to our touch
ANSWER : A. I wish I knew how old your dog is, because what you are describing sounds as if it could be Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, or a type of “doggy Alzheimer’s.” It tends tro occur in older animals (and “older” varies by breed/combination of breeds). You may notice other signs such as general slowing down, a bit of confusion, not responding (as you noted), etc. I would bring her to the vet for a physical and neurological exam. Help may be available if she does have this condition.

Read Full Q/A … : Psychology Final Flashcards

Q. How do I desensitize my dog to squirrels and stray cats in the neighborhood?
ANSWER : A. It depends on the goal that you have in mind. I am going to assume that you would prefer that your dog not chase squirrels or stray cats in the yard/street. In this case, your options include: (1) training your dog on a “Leave it ” cue using positive reinforcement methods, (2) training your dog not to pull on its leash when it sees a squirrel/stray cat, and (3) training your dog to perform a more desirable behavior when it sees a squirrel/cat.
Training your dog on a cued “leave it” command is useful because it will give you the ability to tell your dog to stay away from any number of undesirable objects on your command. Training your dog to perform a more desireable behavior when it sees a squirrel or cat will substitute a behavior you find acceptable (sitting, laying down, coming to the door, etc.) with a behavior you dislike. Your dog can still react, just in a positive way. If your dog pulls on the leash every time you see a squirrel/cat, training not to pull will make your walk safer and more pleasant.
The ideal training method to use with dogs, or any animal for that matter, is positive reinforcement training, particularly a method called “clicker- training.” The basic concept of positive reinforcement training is to pair a reward (reinforcement) with a behavior you want to increase in frequency. In other words, when your dog performs the behavior you desire, it receives an award, which reinforces the desired behavior so you get more of that behavior. There are many excellent books in stores or on-line that describe positive reinforcement training in detail and many give step-by-step instructions for training common commands like “leave it”. Look for books that specifically mention positive reinforcement training or clicker-training. You can also take dog training classes to learn the techniques, find a mentor who already uses clicker-training, or request a consult from one of the pet experts on this site to guide you.

Q. My dog doesn’t eat, what should I do?
ANSWER : A. If this is a puppy, see a veterinarian immediately. Puppies should want to eat. Common causes for anorexia in puppies include viruses (parvo is a big one), parasitism, and foreign bodies. They need immediate care – go to an emergency vet if yours isn’t open. Puppies can get low blood sugar and dehydration very quickly.

If this is an adult dog and you observe other concerning signs, such as diarrhea or decreased energy, you should see a veterinarian.

If the dog seems otherwise bright and stable, try offering different types of food: wet food, canned tripe, or cooked chicken and rice. Some dogs will go for canned baby food: chicken, turkey, or beef as the main ingredient. Make sure there are no garlic or onions in the ingredients!

Causes of anorexia in adult dogs can range from less serious to severe. Younger dogs are more likely to get into trouble- they tend to eat things they shouldn’t, and can get foreign bodies from eating things like socks, or stomach upset from getting in the trash. Any dog may stop eating due to stress, or just being a picky eater. Middle aged dogs can stop eating when they’re stressed and also have Addison’s disease, which can be fatal. Older dogs tend to stop eating when they develop cancer or renal disease.

There is no one-size-fits-all recipe to know when the right time is to take your dog to the vet. The moral of this story is, if it’s not getting better, your pup feels bad, or you’re worried – go see the vet!

Read Full Q/A … : My Dog Won’t Eat

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. Why does a dogs pads on his paws turn such a pink color?
ANSWER : A. I’m confused here. Are your dogs paw pads typically black, but they turn a reddish pink? You may want to see your veterinarian about this to make sure there isn’t anything wrong with his paw pads. I’ve met dogs who have extremely fragile paw pads due to some bad genetics.. they end up getting injured on their paws very easily. I’ve met dogs who are unable to even walk on cement without wearing little doggy booties. It could be that your dog is dealing with some serious discomfort, and you want to get that checked out immediately.

If your dogs paw pads just seem a little bit irritated, you may want to try something like “Musher’s Secret” on them. This is an ointment that you rub on your dogs paw pads to keep them healthy, and smooth. I use this in the winter when there is rock salt all over the ground.. it keeps her paw pads from getting irritated and tearing open. It’s like lotioning your skin to keep it from getting dry and cracked. If you think your dog is dealing with something that is a little more extreme than just some dry irritated paw pads, then see your vet immediately instead of purchasing the Musher’s Secret.

Read Full Q/A … : Discolored Pads in Dogs

Q. Why do dogs eat grass?
ANSWER : A. Some pet parents get concerned when they see their favorite canine nibbling on grass in the yard. They wonder whether it is because hunger, boredom or an indication of an underlying illness. Often the consumption of grass will result in vomiting because it irritates the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. This is an extremely common problem for dog parents. There is no one reason for why dogs exhibit these behaviors and it is very much dependent on each dog. Here are some of the reasons why our dogs choose to eat grass:

1. Nutritional Issues

Historically speaking, dogs are considered omnivores, which mean they consume a variety of both meat and plant-based food. There is some indication that dogs with a low fiber diet may choose to scavenge in the grass to fulfill this nutritional deficiency. These dogs may also find that grass has an appealing flavor and consistency. If you feel that this may be the reason for your beloved canine consuming grass then consider discussing with your veterinarian on how to incorporate more fiber into your dog’s diet.

2. Boredom

Many dogs who are not receiving adequate exercise will be become bored and search out activities to occupy their time, including eating grass. Evaluate how much exercise your dog is getting on a daily basis and consider more walks or other fun activities, such as playing fetch or tug of war.

3. Upset Stomach

There is a belief that dogs with an upset or gassy stomach will self-medicate by consuming grass. Vomiting often follows this grass eating activity eliminating the contents of the stomach or changing the gas distension within the gastrointestinal tract. However, there is not much scientific evidence to back up this theory. If you are concerned about too much gastric acid in your dog’s stomach or any other underlying medical issue that could be the reason for their grass eating, consult with your veterinarian.

Overall, grass eating is usually not toxic to your dogs unless your lawn contains chemicals, including pesticides or herbicides. Monitor your dog’s behavior along with his diet and exercise to determine if there is a reason for the inappropriate grass snacking.