MarcoI know many of you have a dog, as I do.  (This may apply to cats, too, but I haven’t had a cat since I was a girl—allergies.)  Anyway, I wonder if you see personality changes as they age.  Our Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Marco, seems to have developed some separation anxiety and a new sneakiness now that he’s past the ten year mark.

Left Behind

He used to go happily into his crate whenever we left the house, but now he slinks into the girls’ room (where he is justified in thinking the piles of clothing and other debris on the floor will hide him) and hopes we won’t notice he’s not crated. He tucks his tail whenever I put on make-up, knowing that means I’m going out without him. He shivers on Sunday mornings when we’re all up and getting ready for church because that’s not our usual pattern and he knows he’s being left behind.

New Behaviors

Additionally, he’s adopted behaviors that he never displayed when he was younger.  If he thinks no one is home, he’ll raid the trash (he’s particularly fond of toilet paper rolls or used tissues) or get up on my bed or the sofa.  He has never been allowed on any piece of furniture, so why has he recently decided his numerous beds, blankets and crate are no longer sufficiently comfortable?  He gets the same amount of companionship (I’m home almost every morning and many afternoons) and exercise (we walk at least two miles a day) as he always did, so why the changes?  He doesn’t seem to have any physical problems—he still leaps with joy at the prospect of a ride or walk, and barrels down the stairs so fast he skids on the rug at the bottom, sometimes slamming into the wall.

Getting Smarter?

Is his behavior the equivalent of the curmudgeon who says, “I’m old enough to say or do what I want, and no one will knock me down because they owe respect to the elderly”?  Is he getting smarter as he ages and figuring out that beds and sofas are softer than the floor?  Or is something else going on?  I’d be very interested to hear about your experiences with your aging pets, and what you think might be behind the changes.

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