Molly and Rowdy are the only senior dogs I've personally had. Other dogs I've had all had to be re-homed due to moving or whatever. I have been around other senior dogs......but visiting them is not the same as living with them. Molly has cataracts. She might be having issues with hearing. But I think what I *thought* was hearing...........might be senior moments instead. Because other times she seems to hear me just fine. My back door doesn't open into the back yard. It opens onto the side of the house in the back. There is like a 5 foot shot to the gate of the back yard. This is why my command to go into the yard is "gate". Simple. Molly has done this multiple times a day for 8 yrs without a lead. (Molly never in her whole life has "run off") Tonight I'm taking the girls out after their supper. Of course Molly has to go through the door first. I say the command "gate" more for Sadie than for Molly..........But instead of going into the gate Molly slowly wanders off. I'm like wth? So I give the command a couple of times, waiting with Sadie because Molly has to go in the gate first. Molly doesn't even acknowledge the command or that she hears me and keeps slowly wandering and winds up going down the alley. So I put Sadie back inside and go after Molly. She's off into the neighbors yard. And when you've been with a dog as long as her........well when I asked her what the heck she was doing, she looked at me so confused. I had to use the lead to put her into the yard. Then go get Sadie and put her into the yard. This made me remember various other times, before Sadie arrived as well, that I've taken her out and she's just stood between the door and the gate. Repeating the command doesn't work. Sometimes she starts to wander down the driveway. (wander as in very slow walk) And I have to guide her into the gate. Sometimes it's from gate to house, with her ignoring the command "house". Sometimes, now this one I have noticed with Sadie because before then Molly just went out and did her business in private, Molly asks to go potty but when she gets out there she seems to have totally forgotten what she's doing. This results in her having to go back out to get the deed done. And explains while in the past couple of weeks I have had to take her out almost continually in the evening (before Sadie).........I bet she's forgetting what she's out there for then asks to come back in, then needs to go again. Because she has no trouble holding it. mother in law's basset Cleo is the only senior dog I ever really "lived" with. She was 14.........and she didn't get senior moments. She just got sick, then became incontinent, and had to be put to sleep. (all in a very short span of time) So now I'm thinking since Molly hears me fine at other times (no matter what voice I use), that when i thought she wasn't hearing a command.......she was having a senior moment instead? If so, she's having a LOT of senior moments in the last couple of months. A lead to Molly means "walk" because otherwise she doesn't use one, it's not necessary. I'd hate to have to start using a lead to put her in and out of the yard.......not to mention it would be a major PITA to do so. Bad enough having to do it with Sadie. But Sadie is still learning the commands "Gate" and "House" so she has to stay on lead and probably will for quite a while. Molly does have that tumor on her belly. I haven't bothered with the vet because, well, she's at an age where I wouldn't consider extensive measures anyway. Possible that it spread to her brain? And she does have that horrid cough, although once the trees stopped blooming it has improved quite a bit. I'm trying to make her old age as pleasant as possible. I have, despite the awful gas, started her on canned food........she just can't do the kibble anymore. I'm svcking it up on the cost. I guess what I'm asking is............if your elderly dog is not in pain (and other than arthritis that only seems to flare on damp chilly days) how do you know if you should put them down instead of letting them pass on their own? And no, I really don't want to think about this stuff. I can't imagine my life without her in it. But I don't want her suffering either and me letting myself be blind to it for selfish reasons. So I'm asking those of you with more experience with elderly canines.