Monday, July 2, 2012

SociaBulls: Keeping Your Elderbull a Sociabull (Not Letting Age Be a Limitation!)

As our own pooches have been getting older, we are always curious whether we will need to change anything as they age. Enter one of our 'not-so-secret' SociaBulls  inspirations and crushes, adorable Maria, who even at 12 years old can easily outwalk the rest of the pack.
Adopted at age 6, Maria doesn't even realize she's an Elderbull. She has a continual zest for everything and her parents are the perfect reminders showing us how not to let age be a limitation. Here is Maria's story as told by her people:
When we first decided to get a dog six years ago, there were only two criteria: pit bull and mellow. After meeting a few different dogs, Maria joined our family. She's nearly twelve now, though on most days you could only guess by her graying muzzle. 
Although many people gush over puppies, we've always believed that mature dogs offer a better chance of finding the right match. While puppies can grow into a wide range of sizes, personalities, energy and tolerance levels, adult dogs will show you exactly who they are. Thanks to their longer attention span older dogs are easier to train. They can also handle staying alone for longer periods of time, frequently are already housebroken and understand house rules. 
Not to say that adults don't need any training. Maria certainly needed help with her inter-dog skills and playing appropriately with people. Teaching her manners took a little work, but she did well, even earning her CGC. 
Aside from all the practical aspects, older dogs also acquire a certain wisdom or go-with-the-flow calmness with age. They savor all their favorite parts of life - a game, a walk, a nap in the sun, a scratch, a soft spot to rest, and the occassional bite of curry - they do not stress much about the rest.
The most important part of living with an elderbull is to remember not to let the dog's age be a limitation. Sociabulls has been great at providing our girl with mental and physical stimulation to keep her feeling her best. Although Maria has some physical limitations due to a neurological condition, it hasn't stopped us from enjoying all the things that are "dog stuff" to the fullest.
You can also read about more SociaBulls Members: Sophie (Finding a Safe Place and Building Confidence),  Torre (From Learning about Pitbulls to Developing an Ambassadog),  Estelle (Waiting to Be Noticed), Franklin (A Small Dog in a Big Dog Group), Gordon (Learning to Be Social and Have Dog Friends),  Nabi (A Shy Dog Making Sense of a "People World") Sprocket (Teaching a Dog When it's not Time to Play), Lola (Living in the City with a Dog who Fears Strangers),  Zoe (The Dog who "Loves Too Hard")Izzy (Being a good pitbull ambassador while working with an energetic dog) and Maize (Being social with an unsocial pup).
Plus, join our Chicago SociaBulls  Facebook page for more photos and information about group walks. And check out the Hikabulls page where we first learned about the benefits of group walking and  this link from the DINOs (Dogs in Need of Space) group to read the discussion and see if there is a group in your area.  

Please Note: As the weather has warmed up, bikers, runners, dogs, and kids have come out in full force in many of the areas that we walk. While we had previously been introducing new members a few at a time to each walk, we've decided that in order to continue to keep our group safe and make our walks a positive experience for everyone, we are putting new members "on hold" for the summer. You can still submit an application, and it will go on our wait list in the order it is received. Once things quiet down a bit more in the fall, we will resume introducing new members a few at a time to each walk, and will be contacting people on the wait list in a first-come, first-served manner.


Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

Great to read about another gorgeous and happy elderbull! What a great opportunity these structured social walks are for dogs like Maria.

Tucker The Crestie said...

What an inspiring story about a beautiful elderbull! I love hearing about people who adopt adult dogs!

Two French Bulldogs said...

We agree you could find a better match with an older pup
Benny & Lily

houndstooth said...

I have to agree about older dogs showing you who they really are! There's just something very sweet about those senior dogs.

Emily said...

Love reading about Maria. She is gorgeous and it always makes me happy to hear more people don't see age as a limitation in choosing a dog--in fact an older dog is a plus to some people. That's great!

Froggy said...

The pic of Maria and her dad made my heart melt a little bit! I was SO shocked to hear how old Maria was because she's such an active pup. It's been great getting to know Maria and her family on walks.

Mary said...

Maria is a beautiful girl. I love older dogs. My brother and sister-in-law adopted a dog at 10 a few years ago and she is more spry than my two lazy bones!

Unknown said...

I adopted an elderbull after my last princess passed away. I remembered those puppie training days and did not look forward to that again! So I took a chance on an older boy, who spent his whole life in the garage and the yard.....good manners but what a baby he has become, taking over the house, my bed, and carefully watches over my mother who has alzhiemer's.

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