In great need of advice. Aggressive Older Rottie!!!!!!

I have a 12 y/o female rottie. She is still very energetic and playful however I worry about some other behavioral issues she has been exhibiting.

She has started urinating in the kitchen without even giving any usual signals that she needs to go out.

She became food aggressive suddenly several years ago but recently if anyone even walks into the kitchen where her food is she jumps up to run to "guard" her dish.

She also goes nuts when the mailman brings the mail to the house (this is every single day), she actually starts to bark when she hears him close his truck door minutes before he actually arrived on our doorstep. I have also noticed that she does not immediately respond when she is given a command like "get in your bed", something she always did very well.

My biggest concern is that today I noticed she had licked a sore on her foot to the point of it being open and raw. I wanted to apply ointment and wrap the foot to keep her from licking. She became so aggressive that I actually feared she may bite me so I muzzled her.

This evening when I had to redress it after it got wet she managed to bite me even with the muzzle on. It did not break skin thankfully due to the muzzle but I am distraught over this. I do understand she was in pain and I was messing with her but she has seemed to be becoming increasingly aggressive over the last couple of years and after tonight I worry because I have kids.

If my husband knew that she actually bit me tonight he would take her to be put down in the morning without discussion. I do love her but I think I've lost all trust in her now. I don't know if I could put a still playful and active dog down but I also know that I could never live with myself if she hurts one of my kids.

I would appreciate any advice on this matter but I know this can be a heated subject so please if all you have is a judgmental, nasty response please don't share.

I love my dogs and I take great care of them (12y/o rottie and 10y/o saint prove that).

Hi, I'm sorry to hear about the issues you're having with your older Rottie, this must be extremely difficult to handle, and very upsetting.

Given her age, and the behavior changes you describe, I'm wondering if she is suffering from 'Canine Dysfunction Syndrome' (aka Old Dog Syndrome). This is something similar to Alzheimers' in humans and behavior changes, confusion and a relapse in potty habits are all classic signs.

I'd recommend checking out this page... About Old Dog Syndrome to see if it could be the root of the problem.

Also, I'd strongly recommend having your vet check her out thoroughly (even if it requires muzzling or sedating her) to make sure that there isn't any underlying health problem that could be causing her pain, distress, anxiety or impaired judgement/cognition.

I have a 13 year old Rottweiler myself, and given an average lifespan of about 9 years, I have no doubt that your dogs have been well cared for and loved to have reached this ripe old age.

It would be very sad for you to have this girl euthanized if there is anything that can be done to help her return to her normal self and live out the remainder of her life (which sadly is likely to be a fairly short time span) without the anxiety, confusion and distress she is suffering now.

I wish I had seen this post a little earlier, but I hope that the info. here helps you and that you're able to get your Rottie girl the help she needs. Or at least the understanding that she deserves.

I wish you the best of luck ~ Sue

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