Need Help for Mom's Sanity

  1. My parents own two Golden Retrievers named Parker and Buckley. Parker is going to be 10 in January and Buckley will be 6 Next month. Let me start by saying both of them are extremely well behaved and have been their whole life (besides when they were puppies). My parents live in NYC and go to CT on the weekends so both dogs get a lot of exercise on the weekends and they have a dog walker so they get plenty of exercise during the week. So I don't believe our problem is due to this. My older dog Parker has recently started tearing up the house and I think it's partly due to him being scared and partly due to his old age since this is a new thing. We thought we had solved the problem until yesterday my mom gets a call that he rammed through a baby gate and left a dent in the wire. Apparently the smoke detector's battery died and I guess it freaked him out. He then proceeded to shred the curtains in the living room. Now we have cages for both dogs but my mom is afraid that he might hurt himself if something happens while we are away since he has also developed a fear of storms.

    Has this sudden change in behavior happened to anyone else. While my dad is unhappy about the damage to the house and apartment my mom and I are more worried about how we can help him move past this. Even small noises like a phone dying bother him. He used to wake my mom up in the middle of the night so she would turn it off.

    I need suggestions because my Mom's is getting really upset over this (he is her baby while Buckley is mine)

  2. The dog in your avatar is beautiful! I can't offer much help since my golden is still a pup at 6 months old. But, I hope you can figure it out!! Maybe your vet can offer some ideas?
  3. Is there any chance there has been a decline in his hearing or sight? I know a dog losing his sight will freak out easily. It is also possible his tyroid is off. Dogs can become aggressive if that is the problem. I would have your mom bring the dog to the vet for a senior blood panel. Ask the vet to also check his hearing and eyes. Until then you can try a DAP plug in. I have a storm phobic dog and having that plugged in really seems to calm him down. It's worth a shot. That type of change in behavior is not normal so hopefully it is something simple to fix.
  4. I'm going through something similar with my 12 year old dog. Until this year he was never afraid of thunderstorms. Now a storm can trigger terrible anxiety attacks that can last for hours. My vet gave me sedatives for him, but I hate to use them because they make him unsteady on his feet and he falls. He has some hearing loss and I think that the storms sound different and frightening to him now.

    In your case maybe the shrill sounds the phone and smoke detector make when the batteries are going bad sound very scary to him. Is it only the sound of small electronics that sets him off or are there other things?
  5. I'm sorry I can't really help, but I feel for you and I hope everything is ok. I think it's best to take the dog to the vet. Cindi's reply makes sense about the loss of hearing. Keep us updated.
  6. I have heard of this kind of behavior when dogs get older (kinda like for us humans ... except we get senile, lol!). The only advice I could give is to take him to his vet to make sure there's no other health issues. If noise bothers him, maybe he has an ear infection ... good luck!
  7. Thanks for your replies.

    KittyBag - My avatar is my baby the younger of the two. He is a total king of the hill type dog.

    Cindi - what is a DAP plug?

    bag-mania - the vet offered to give us sedatives but he is fine as long as we are around its when we are gone that the problems are happening. He is a big baby so he likes to know people are a couple of feet away and then he feels safe. I just wish someone could be home 24x7.

    He just went to the vet for an eye problem poor guy and has to go back to get a growth removed so I will have my mom talk to the vet about the hearing thing. She has already called him countless times for help. Maybe if she knows its because his hearing is getting bad she will at least be reassured that there is a reason.
  8. bag-mania - the problem is that we don't always know what sets him off because his behavior is only like this when we aren't close at hand. This first time he started chewing everything my parents were just in a different part of the house. It seems that if we are close by then he just comes and gets us to change what is bothering him or comfort him.
  9. Possibly separation anxiety? along with anxiety with storms? We've had dogs do things like you describe even if they didn't as younger dogs. Also, I've wondered if humans can get hardening of the arteries that leads to dementia, it seems that dogs could suffer from the same thing in their older years.

    It's very sad to see behavioral changes like this. Usually meds and putting them in a safe place will help. Definitely ask the vet for advice.

    Good luck.