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Hi,

I was looking for a bit of advice or any suggestions to help my dog out. He is a 14.5 year old golden labrador. My family has had him since he was a puppy, but he stayed with my Mum when my brother and I went to university, although we have visited regularly and he has stayed at my brother's house several times since he was about 9.

He has a number of problems which affect his mobility (severe arthritis in his front legs, muscle wasting in his bag legs, loss of one eye and almost complete blindness in the remaining one). At my Mum's house there are several steps leading up to the front door and he is unable to manage them anymore, or to navigate her garden as it is mostly rockery. In addition to this my step-father is ill and doesn't like having the dog around. So for these reasons, my husband and I offered to take our dog.

He's always been brilliant at settling in and adapting to whatever environment we put him in in the past, but he seems to be struggling to settle in here (he's been here a week). He whines intermittently during the day, and more-so at night - sometimes moving onto a very high pitched anxious/uncomfortable bark if no one goes to him.

We are concerned that we are causing problems for our neighbours (we live in a semi-detatched house), and my husband is getting fed up of having his sleep disrupted every night.

Sometimes when he whines it does seem to be because he needs the bathroom (he has to go pretty frequently, about every 5-6 hours), but other times there doesn't seem to be anything causing his whining. Even when I am sitting hugging him he whines occasionally, but some of the time he seems to be absolutely fine and his normal self.

I am really unsure as to what kind of approach to take to this kind of behaviour. The vet thinks it may be a combination of needing the bathroom, stress from moving, and dementia which makes it difficult to know how to respond. I have tried ignoring it, but at night time this is impossible as I can't leave him barking because of my husband and the neighbours. I'm also unsure whether ignoring the behaviour is the correct procedure in dogs with dementia.

He is on medication for dementia, and we have got an adaptil collar from the vet today (supposed to release calming phermones), which doesn't seem to have had any effect so far.

Is anyone able to suggest the best way to deal with this? Or is it just a case that he is too old to adapt to new circumstances?
 

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Try spending more time with him and ask your parents if he's afraid of anything you might have in your house. Other than that i don't know what could be wrong.
 

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It takes dogs time to settle into a new home (1-2 months), so be patient. :) I would also suggest giving him A LOT of high value treats. Treat him for doing what you want so that he more quickly gains confidence in this strange new area. Cooked chicken pieces would probably do the trick. Treat him for being calm and quiet, for sitting beside you, for laying down instead of acting anxious, etc. etc.

Where is he sleeping at night? Is there a way to make him take easier in his spot (with a Kong at bedtime or something like that)?

You can also talk to your neighbors or leave a note for them regarding the dog, explain the situation and that you should have it under control in a few weeks if they wouldn't mind being patient too. Being on the receiving end of this (as a neighbor who has had inconsiderate neighbors leaving their dog outside to bark all night), I really would have appreciated that - vs. having to go over to tell them to take their dog in at 2 a.m. ;)
 
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