Yep. They set the pace. If they want to go slow, we go slow. I let them tell me when we need to keep it short. My oldsters are also allowed to sniff flowers and dawdle, unlike the young ones who keep moving at a brisk clip. It's just one of those privileges that come with age!
You just have to pay close attention, particularly to the stoic ones -- they tend to have some good days and some bad days, and weather matters to them more than it does to young dogs (they likely feel approaching storms in arthritic joints just like humans do).
I've let my previous seniors set the pace. Zoey is not really a senior yet, she's closing in on 8 yrs. We took her on a very difficult hike this past weekend and it got me thinking about how long she can safely keep this up. She differs from my other dogs as she doesn't want to quit, she has a ton of go and hides pain, my others were more relaxed and welcomed down time in their later years.
The hardest thing for me over the years has been admitting to myself when older dogs should "sit one out" and stay home from certain activities. It was really, really difficult for me to draw this line with my first dog, some years ago.
They might be prancing around, excited and knowing that something is happening, but there comes a time when the hilly bike ride or the 10 mile rocky climb just isn't a good idea any more. The trade-off in our house has been more low key social outings - outdoor restaurants, outdoor concerts, special solo evening walks, all without the younger dog(s).
For swimming and free running around the yard, I've just let them set their own pace. I think you have to decide how to handle fetch & toys based on the individual dog and how drivey/obsessive the dog can be. I have pictures of my old girl gamely swimming out to bring in her bumper at age 14+. She loved it so much, but we limited the game to 2-3 tosses in her elder years.
My lab had to sit a few camping/ hiking trips out, hated doing it, but she would have gotten hurt trying to keep up with my then younger gsds. While its for the best, it's still a rotten feeling having to do it.
Originally Posted by Suki's Mom;8671713[B
]I have been wondering about this as well. Suki is nine now, but still (most times) wants to go go go. I am actually not even sure when we should expect issues related to age[/B] (?)
We have noticed that she does not always come to the door when we get home - just stays on her bed until we go to let Diva out of the bedroom. A few months back my husband took them for their morning walk the day after daycare (other days they get an off-leash forest/field hike, but the day after daycare a leashed walk through a park), and after sniffing a few trees she led the way back to the car. Ok, message received
As for daycare, they used to go one full day a week, but we've cut it back to just a half day. She absolutely loves going there, so for now we'll continue.
The bolded is kind of where I'm at. During our weekend hike I watched her scramble over boulders and log jams in the creek without issue, however I wondered if I'm allowing her to do too much? Often the places we go are inaccessible by any kind of motor vehicle, an injury would mean packing her out. I practiced this when she was young, but it's been a long time, not sure how she'd do if I tried it now, lol