Saturday, September 17, 2011

Growing old is a 'state of mind' .... right????

Am I getting too old for this obedience stuff?

The heartbreak of owning a giant breed dog such as a Great Dane is knowing that their life span is estimated to be eight - ten years. Considering they need two years to reach physical maturity, that doesn't leave a lot of time for training and competing in obedience.

I was perusing my 2010 National Invitational catalog recently and was not surprised to see the ages of the top obedience dogs. Looking through the sporting breed listings, I found the majority of the dogs competing were in the five to seven year-old age range, with a dozen more that were eight to ten years old.

I feel fortunate that Jackson stayed healthy enough to compete through the udx level prior to his seventh birthday. However, I think I am now seeing some signs of his age catching up with him, which may start to limit some of the jumping exercises. He has started refusing the bar jump lately - something he has never done in training. I'm not sure if it's his eyes or a lack of umph when he needs to jump.

Oh, we will continue training, although we will be lowering jump heights or omitting the jumping exercises altogether. I think it's important though to keep him moving and thinking. We just need to find some different things to keep him - and me - learning!


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

It's too bad AKC doesn't have a veterans option for obedience. I think it would be so great for many dogs!

One reason I'm waiting on getting another puppy of my own is because I know it's going to be hard enough having 2 old dogs at once.

At least it seems like Jackson is still doing fabulous except for jumping! As long as the dog is still wanting to play and have fun then keep training!

Jennifer H. said...

Awww handsome Jackson!! It's tuff getting old but there are still lot of fun stuff in obedience he can do. And I totally agree that keeping him moving and thinking will help keep him feeling young!

tervnmal said...

Hugs to the big fellow. Jamie says a little gray makes a guy very distinguished.

Honey the Great Dane said...

I think Jackson is doing wonderfully for his age – and for what he has achieved – even in his more advanced years!

I share many of your thoughts and feelings when it comes to doing training with then "older dog" – I'm very conscious in the last year that I have really slacked off on pushing Honey for training things because I do feel like she deserves to take things a bit easier now and I don't push her as hard as I would have she was three or four. But having said that, I agree with Laura – as long as they are still having fun and enjoying it (even if it's not as often or as long as they used to) – then it's good to still keep training.

I've slacked off this year quite a bit, especially with all our travelling recently – I just haven't had any time to do any training – but I've recently been inspired again and have started doing some training with honey again for a new routine. It's really nice to see how keen she is and how much she seems to be enjoying herself, after not having any proper training sessions for so long.

By the way, so glad you enjoyed that shish taouk recipe! :-)