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Troubleshooting Your Dog’s Golden Years: Dealing with Age-Related Challenges

February 13

7:00 am PT

This talk is eligible for CEUs from: CCPDT - Behavior, CCPDT - Training, IAABC, KPA


We all know that older dogs are prone to certain types of health problems – just like older people! Aging comes with both physical and mental changes that can affect your dog’s behavior, ability to get around, enjoyment of favorite activities, interest in training, and overall quality of life. In this talk, we’ll discuss some of the most common medical and behavioral issues that we often see in senior dogs including trouble with mobility, chronic illnesses, and cognitive decline.

Dog owners often aren’t sure what specific “red flags” they should be watching out for, or how to differentiate normal age-related changes in behavior or activity level from something that might be more concerning. Some changes that you might think are an unavoidable part of getting older are actually medical problems that can be treated by your veterinarian once a diagnosis is made, so it’s definitely helpful to know what sorts of things should prompt you to consider a vet visit!

We’ll also talk about how to support your senior dog and give them the best “retirement years” possible, even if they’re generally healthy and doing well – from small things like making some adjustments to your living quarters or daily routine, to more involved treatment options for common problems such as cognitive dysfunction or mobility challenges. This will include some discussion of specific medications and dietary supplements that can be helpful, in some cases.

Finally, we’ll touch briefly on some miscellaneous concerns that often arise with older dogs such as nighttime restlessness, having “accidents” in the house, new or worsening noise sensitivity, and aggression towards housemate pets.

Presented By:

Jennifer Summerfield, DVM CPDT-KA

Jennifer Summerfield (she/her) is a veterinarian and Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), with a focus on treating behavior problems including aggression to humans or other animals, separation anxiety, and compulsive behavior disorders. She also teaches group classes and private lessons in basic obedience for pet dogs, and coaches students getting started in dog sports such as agility and competitive obedience.

Jennifer is proud to be a member of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). She is a passionate advocate for positive, science-based methods of training and behavior modification, and loves helping pet owners learn to communicate more clearly with their dogs.

Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys competing in a variety of sports with her three Shelties, including AKC agility, obedience, rally, and conformation. She has been a past webinar presenter for Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog Trainers, a guest lecturer on clinical animal behavior for veterinary technician students at her local community college, and also writes a blog on behavior and training issues for dog owners.