Turns Out, Old Dogs *Can* Learn New Tricks

My dog, Ms. K, will be thirteen years old on Labor Day.  I’ve had her since she was seven.  We’ve shared a lot of special moments, her and I.  She’s no ordinary dog.

However, with the number of years she is along, she has slowed down a bit.

Her hearing is fading, along with her eyesight, and she has become a bit ‘eccentric’ in the last year or so.

Her habits have changed. She’s fussier about her treats.  She forgets where we’re going on our evening walk. She doesn’t lay in the same places she used to.

For example, I moved her favorite couch just a few feet from where it used to be, and she never uses it anymore.  She used to be quite independent, and now she follows me from room to room.  When she feels a thump, even if it’s me, she will bark and run to the living room window, to see what’s the matter.

And she’s a bit unsettled and anxious during the day while I’m at work.

How do I know? Little things.

The door to my bathroom is usually almost closed all the way.  Every night returning from work, I noticed it was completely wide open, and I assumed my dog care people had been using the bathroom – but every single day? That seemed odd.

Then one day I noticed Ms. K nosing the door open with her muzzle. She has ignored doors most of her life, so I found this amusing. But I also realized it was an anxious behavior. I’ve also noticed drool marks on the floor all over the house, and figured she must be watching the windows, waiting for me or the dog care people to eventually show up.

So today, my dog care person checked in with me as usual, but the message was far from typical.

DCP: “Your garage door is open. Should it be?”

Me: “NO”

I asked if all the important things were still present in my garage, and when that was confirmed, I joked that the dog must have figured out how to use the garage door opener I have resting on the windowsill by the back door.

Apparently I wasn’t far from the truth. The response came, “I bet she did. She’s armed and dangerous. Look at this criminal.”


Then, a clue!

DCP: “I may have found the problem. See what’s on the floor by someone’s big mitts?”



Well apparently my dog learned a new trick today.  I can just see her looking out the back window at the squirrels, and knocking the remote to the floor.  She probably had no idea, stepped on it, and voilà!  She had no idea she could wield such power!

Me: “My dog learned a new trick today.”

DCP: “I thought old dogs didn’t do that.”

Me: “My dog does cuz she’s cool.”

DCP: “She is drunk with her newfound power. Witness the smug self-satisfaction.”

K082318 c

Me: She’s a bit anxious now when she’s home alone, and found weird little things to keep herself busy.”

DCP: “I’d buy her a 500 piece puzzle. She doesn’t have thumbs, it’ll keep her busy for awhile.”

Then, truly drunk with power and full of herself, she decided to play a few games. She’s part Chow, and if you’ve ever owned a Chow, you know they are very smart and know how to play their cards right. The ensuing text read:

DCP: “Okay, Sassy McSassy-pants pooped and peed as she does, then steered me home because she was dying. Wouldn’t take her treat, she just drank water and went back to the door. Now she won’t go back inside.”

After a few minutes pass:

DCP: “She led me back to the door. I opened it and she’s like ‘just kidding!’ Now she’s back on the side of the house wearing Doc Martens and chanting “Anarchy! Anarchy!” ……….. well, figuratively.”

Then he sent this.

K082318 g

Me: “Well, there’s lemonade in the fridge if you wanna hang out.”

DCP: “Luckily my under-handed trick of luring her into the house with a snack worked.”


K082318 h

Me: “She’s thinking, ‘If there’s a remote for the garage door, I bet there’s one for this door too… I just have to figure out which window ledge it’s on!’ ”

When I wonder over text why we don’t actually have remotes to open our houses with, since it would be WAY more convenient, and ponder why do we even still have house keys, my dog care person responds,

DCP: “Because Ms. K.  She’d let anyone in if it meant she could sneak out.  The technologists have thought of this.”

Of course they have.


Thanks to my Dog Care Person for the great shots of my dog, today and always.

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