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Please, I need help with a most troubling decision to make. My 84 year old mother who is in the early stages of dementia is beginning to lose patience with her most beloved 8-year old companion, a bichon-poodle mix. Up until most recently, my mother and her loved companion have been joined to the hip for the past 8 years. This 8 year old rescue dog has been a god send for my mother. But now, with the onset of early dementia concerns with my mother, she is now losing patience with the behavior patterns of Lilli(her dog).
What I am trying to find out here on this forum, is it too late(so-to-speak) to seek possibly some training for her 8 year old bichon/poodle mix. Concern with the behavior of Lilli are: 1) her barking when anyone comes to the door, to when dogs pass by outside in the street, etc> which now drives my mom nuts(where it didn't so much in the recent past) 2)Mom is now more bed ridden here of late(which is being addressed) and now Lilli's constant leaving
the bed(where they are inseparable) is driving my mom to have little patience
anymore with Lilli. 3) I'm having to isolate Lilli more and more to an extra bedroom(close the door) because she is somewhat interfering/getting in the way when I have to attend to my mother.
Is there some things I can do at the moment to address some of the issue's above to help ease my Mom's anxiety over her growing impatience with her most precious companion. My Mom and Lilli have been inseparable up until most recently. I know my Mom still loves Lilli unconditionally, but Lilli's behavior is making my Mother begin to resent her more and more.
Please, any information on what I can do to help this situation would be most appreciated and welcomed. My Mom's little dog is so dear and I am trying my best to deal with her behavior. I do not want to isolate her dog into a bedroom every time I have to attend to my mother. I want so much to include Lilli into the daily activities when attending my Mom. I know my Mom would welcome that too, only if I could get Lilli to behave better. Please help me. Thank you and take care.
 

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Hi Brian,

Are you living with your mom and her dog? Or is she living somewhat in her own home with a lot of extra help? Who is with your mom and her dog during the day?
 

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Samantha is also a poodle bischon mix, and has exactly the same behavior. She sees anyone go by on the street outside, she barks, doorbell rings, she runs to the door to greet. I can get her to not bark at passing people or dogs, but only for that event, next time she barks again. BTW Samantha is almost eight too, also a rescue and inseparable from my wife or me. I think this behavior is pretty much the nature of the breed, nothing we have been able to do has changed it, other than for one event. It couldn't hurt to have a qualified trainer consult, though, as these dogs are very smart and if taught correctly can learn.
 

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I have to be honest with you, (and trying to say this as sensitively as possible) I don't think the problem is the dog, but your mother and her condition.

Unless the dog is excessively barking at other dogs for long periods of time, and there is a lot of foot traffic by the window, it is normal for a dog to bark at other dogs going by the window and when people arrive at the door. If the dog IS doing that excessively, then yes it can be helped and you can consult a trainer.

However, I do not think it's fair to expect a healthy middle aged dog (8 is not old for this breed/mix) to want to spend the entire day in bed just because the human she loves is bedridden. Is anyone walking or playing with her? It's possible she is also getting a bit stir crazy and barking more at passers by because she needs exercise and is bored. It is also possible she keeps interfering with your caring for your mother because she wants attention. I do think this could be remedied by giving her a special treat like a bully stick or kong stuffed with peanut butter while you are caring for her. This should make her want to stay with her special treat instead of looking to you for attention. If no one is walking her, I suggest you hire someone to do so or ask a friend or neighbor.

I do have to ask as well if your mother lives with you or lives alone. If her health is continuing to fail and she lives alone, I think you need to start making plans for Lilli. Though I know no there is ill intent, I have seen dogs mistreated, neglected and abused by elderly owners with dementia. This is not fair to the dogs, and if you do not plan on keeping Lilli once your mother becomes too ill to care for her and moves in with you or a retirement home, you need to find a new home for her. Please let us know how it goes and I hope we can help.
 

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I agree with the last post, the dogs behavior is normal, and as I said we see it all the time in Samantha. I also know that these breeds love to be loved, and if she feels that she is not getting the attention she is used to, she will react by acting out. Poodle Bischon's are very smart, and also can be very stubborn, but they are very loving dogs. If Lilli is like Samantha, finding a good home for her will not be a problem, virtually everyone that meets Samantha wants her, and some would be very serious about it. Fortunately there is no way we would ever give her up she is family.
 

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Some of the behavior can be fixed with training, but the getting on and off the bed due to an excess of energy is not one of them.

For the barking you can teach a quiet command, but is your mom going to be able to remember it? Here's a video on how to train it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g Teaching quiet will not stop the barking but will allow your mom to have some control over the barking.

For attending your mom work on a go to mat, or whatever place you choose command, and a stay command. Two videos, one for mat and the other stay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2c5EkytNU0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk4PPcE1CqY Once you've taught them then simply tell Lilli to go to her mat and stay there when you need to attend your mom.

Getting on and off the bed is a bit more difficult. Your best bet is going to be to up Lilli's exercise so that she's tired and ready to just hang around with your mom when she's on the bed.

Here's a link on how to use treats properly. The last thing you need is for LIlli to only obey when she sees that you have treats. http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/thoughts-training-food-1219/
 
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