You are here:

Canine Behavior/doggie dementia


QUESTION: Peppie is a 16 year old lab/ great dane mix with ehat we believe is a dog version of alzheimer's. He had bad anxiety. He rips up any paper items he can find when he is left alone. He has gone into my sisters room (she is away at university) and destroyed a box full of old tapes and books. Unfortunately he also destroyed a prim dress that was hanging close to the ground. He does not eat regularly though we offer him soft food. He drools everywhere (a habit he has just picked up). My mother is at her wits end with him. She is afraid of what he will destroy next. We have to lock him in a small room when we leave the house or at night. We put old newspaper and boxes along with blankets for him to rip up. Our other dog is just as old and other than be overweight, she is a lovely tempered dog. Though we do separate them at night because she can snap and peppie if he lays on her blankets. What can we do with peppie to make him calm down? Why is he ripping things up? Should we have more patience for him? Or hold him accountable even though he isn't sure where he is?

ANSWER: Hello Franchesca Rollerson, and thanks for your question.  

Before I answer further, I would like clarification on one of your questions, which is the one at the end where you ask if you should "hold him accountable." Before I proceed further, can you explain what that means for you and for Peppie?

I have a few other questions of my own, as follows.

First, what makes you sure Peppie is having cognitive difficulties? Are the behaviors you describe different from his behaviors in the past? If so, do any of the behaviors you describe coincide with your sister's leaving for university? Is/was Peppie your sisters dog, or most close with your sister?

How has the family's attotude changed toward Peppie since your sister has been away? Does she not come home from university for the summer and spend time with Peppie?

Thank you.

Madeline Friedman
Dog Trainer Hoboken N.J.
Dog Trainer NYC
Dog Trainer central N.J.
Dog Trainer Bergen County, N.J.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: By holding him accountable I mean discipline when It comes to him getting into important papers or pushing open my sisters bedroom door (which is barricaded) to dig in her closet; or pottying on the floor when the door to the yard is wide open but it's too hot/cold or too rainy for his liking. Peppie was a very calm dog; nothing bothered him. He was always by our side. Now he is anxious. Sometimes he sleeps and sometimes he is running around our house like he is searching for something. I'll add that he has problems standing for long periods of time because his hips give out. But when he is in the state he will run up and downstairs for hours if we let him. He has gradually gotten worse and worse over the last year and a half. (More irritable, anxious, confused) His behavior doesn't coincide with my sister leaving because she left almost five years ago and peppie is more of my and my mother's dog. When she comes home she is always excited to see our dogs. We haven't changed the way we treat him until his age started to show on him. We've changed what and when we feed him, but that is all.

Hello Franchesca,

Another clarification needed by you: what do you mean by "discipline" Peppie?  How would you go about doing that?

Please do not rate my response until we have completed the clarification/response procedure.  THere is no reason to rate me a '7' on clarity when I have been VERY clear, and needed more clarification from you before responding.  If I am to be helping you, I must have the information I need.  

Also, when I do respond, I don't mince words and render an honest response.  Please be prepared for that.  My responses are never impolite, but they are honest and designed to educate dog owners.  I am on the side of both the dogs, first, as animals who can not speak up for themselves, and then the owners who can speak up for themselves and control the world and lives of their dogs.

Thank you.


Canine Behavior

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Madeline S. Friedman, M.A.


I respond to public questions only. I'm not a veterinarian & do not respond to medical questions.Suggestions: Submit a question in one area of priority, as what I am able to address in this venue is limited. Provide as much detail re: the behavior & issue as you can. Tell me how & if behavior is a change from previous behavior & when the changes occurred. Let me know what you think may have triggered such changes & what you have tried so far to resolve it, & what the results were. Let me know what you want help with & what are your concerns & questions about the behavior. I have set up a payment/donation to myself for responding to questions. I donate most of it to animal shelters & rescues. I keep a small portion for my time. The minimum donation is $25.00 on PayPal. When I see that a donation has been made, I will respond to your question. You will be prompted to make the donation before submitting your question. When you have read & rated my response fairly, which must be at the time you read it, I will refund $5.00 back to you IF YOU REQUEST that I do so in your rating comments. If I ask for more details, please respond as a "follow-up" & not as a new question. If I don't respond to your question, I will refund your donation less $5.00. DO rate me fairly at the end of our exchange. I will be pleased if you DO nominate me for volunteer of the month - why not, if I was generous in my response? I may suggest something you were not necessarily ready to hear, but I am honest in the interest of helping your dog, & that is my goal. Please keep that in mind. Please do NOT contact me privately about Allexperts questions through my e-mail or website unless I have invited you to do so. That is an invasion of my privacy - thank you for respecting it. If you would like to contact me for actual dog training & behavior consulting, you may contact me through my Web site.


Own & operate dog training & behavior consulting businesses, Hoboken Dog Trainer, and ny-njDogTrainer, in the NYC & NYC Metro areas since 2002. Work with thousands of dog owners & their dogs, & shelter & rescue dogs. Active volunteer in dog shelters and rescues (rescues being "no kill" and shelters being municipality-run urban shelters that can and do euthanize dogs). AllExperts volunteer in "Dogs, Category 701" and "Dog Training" and "Canine Behavior" since 2006. When you submit a question, please make sure it's being submitted in the appropriate category as I volunteer in two different categories. Make sure you agree to the Virtual Contract (the instructions I outline for question submissions) and agree to read and rate my response when I answer in the body of your question. I make donations to various animal non-profits based on YOUR ratings. If you don't rate my response, or rate it unfairly, you have just denied a dog rescue org or shelter a donation. Keep that in mind.

Professional Member of APDT for five years Founding Member of Animal Behavior Associates Behavior Education Network Former Board Member of IAABC, appointed by Founder Former Member of IPDTA in Canada Founding member of Behavior Education Network

Chronicle of the Dog (APDT, peer publication, numerous articles) Popular Dog Series magazine, numerous entries AOL in Tonowanda News Morris County News Vermont News Boston NOW New York A.M. Polo Trace Newsletter The Dodo AOL

Counseling Psychology, Caldwell College Animal Science, Rutgers University Master of Arts Degree Permanent New Jersey State Teaching Certification (teach public school and university level) Numerous workshops, lectures, and seminars on dog training and behavior Ongoing self-motivated study in my area of expertise

Awards and Honors
Best Canine Coach Award, 2006, Rondout Valley Instructor's Training Course Society of Illustrators, second place international competition Jellybean Photographics, second place international competition Fashion Institute of Technology "Commitment to Illustration" award

Past/Present Clients
Testimonials from a number of clients appear on my Web site at under "Reviews." My customers include: Puppy owners wanting to get their puppies off to the best start; owners of mature dogs who want their dogs to have more obedience skills; fosters and owners of rescue dogs or shelter dogs; customers with special needs who need to train or retrain their dogs; housetraining and housebreaking; owners who have behavioral issues with their dogs such as house accidents, aggression towards humans, aggression towards other animals, inattentive dogs, unmotivated dogs, overly-exuberant dogs; and, more.

©2016 All rights reserved.