By: Revanche

Old dog, new trick

December 29, 2009

Some days, I feel impossibly old.  But then my 15 year old fluffy mutt mix pops in and demands my attention. She’s always great for my blood pressure, until she does something weird or demanding like try to break through a metal screen door.

Her thing last month was that she no longer loves the Furminator.  Sacrilege!! Fourteen and a half years, she couldn’t get enough grooming love, and suddenly she’s leaping and contorting like never before to get away from the brush. Or dramatically yelp-shrieking when the brush touches her.  Note: There’s no pain at all, she’s definitely being a brat because I’ve gone over every square inch of her to make sure she’s not tender, cut, bruised, lumpy or any other darn thing that could cause pain.  So, fine.  Now I’m reduced to finger-grooming her which is seriously a bundle of fun with arthritic hands.  But … she’s so CUTE I can’t really say no. Also? Soooo fluffy and furry, she looks like a furball about to burst into tons of little furballs. 

Today, we played with tennis balls.  Two large dogs, two tennis balls at the same time.  (Such a bad idea every time I try it.)  The other dog played fetch — he looooves chasing the ball around the house.  She’s got the bad joint thing going on, like mama like puppy, so I gently roll the ball in another area for her, or just toss it to her for catching.  She’s got a rule about fetch: If you throw a ball, she’ll chase it.  But if you want it back, get it y’r darn self.  She’s not your fetcher.  *shaking head* It’s not something we’re going to discuss at this late date, though.

After a few tosses, she had gotten tired, but evidently still wanted to play: rolling around on her back, mouth hanging open, tossing her head from side to side, casting about for the ball.  This time, she changed the rules.  Now that she was tired, she laid in one place, grabbed the ball IF it came close enough, looked me dead in the eye, and tossed it over her back.  The first time she did it, I thought she just got too excited about grabbing the ball and lost it.  After the third time, it struck me: she’s throwing the ball back to me!  And if I moved around from the side to the front of her, she’d throw the ball toward me.

Check that out.  My dog recognized her limits, went right up to them, and innovated so that she could still have what she wanted without hurting herself.

4 Responses to “Old dog, new trick”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Awesome! 🙂

  2. Sense says:


    ha ha…that is such a cute story!

  3. That’s an odd switch in behavior. Have you tried any other kind of brush or comb, to see if it’s only the Furminator that bothers her? It must be causing some kind of irritation.

    I’ve had dogs that really hate to be brushed, apparently because it must feel like their hair is being pulled out. She may have developed a little extra skin sensitivity in her old age.

  4. Revanche says:

    @Karen: I know. I dote on my dog. 🙂

    @Sense: *sigh* I miss puppy breath.

    @Funny about Money: She doesn’t want any object brushing her some days, and I suspect she mostly doesn’t want to stay still for it anymore, as well. She used to stretch out as long and flat as she could manage and settle in for a good brush. Now she hardly sits down for a second and then takes off again.

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