So, we sent Morrie to a wonderful dog trainer, Versatile K9 Training Academy, for three weeks. Their program is fantastic and they are willing to help you for the long haul after the dog comes home. The dogs follow all of their commands from the trainer, and Bailey has been great at following her commands from us as well. However, Morrie, back in his home where he thinks he owns everything, even the people, will not listen. What we have to do is continually follow through on the command and never allow him to get away with not listening to us. This is fine with everyone in the house, except Mom.
With her dementia, she can not understand that training a dog does not mean you are being mean to them. Morrie has a remote collar and Mom does not like that we use it. When Morrie does not listen, Mom thinks it is mean that we just keep taking him back to the same spot and repeating the command over and over until he does it. She thinks this makes Morrie sad and she is very upset with the rest of us in the house for treating Morrie this way.
I am unsure if we can train Morrie in this environment because it is causing so much anxiety and upset for Mom which in turn makes the rest of us exasperated. Our life now revolves around the dog and Mom being upset about the dog.
While the training process makes sense to us and it absolutely works as long as you follow through on it, it does not make sense in Mom's brain. Due to her dementia, we can not make her understand. Right now what we are up against is discovering if we can train the dog and learn to ignore how upset it makes Mom. Mom would be devastated if we had to give Morrie away to another home, but if he can not be trained in this environment, that is what we will have to do.
The level of complication that dementia adds to everything is surprising, and you are never sure what will happen next. A perfect plan such as dog training, can be set off course.
My advice is, if you get a dog for someone with dementia, make sure the dog has been fully trained first.