Training Tips

Is it too Late to Train My Dog?

training an older dog to learn new tricks

Many dog owners feel that the idea of training an older dog is impossible. They may have heard the old saying about teaching an old dog new tricks being impossible, but that may not be as true as once believed. In fact, a lot of senior dogs are completely capable of learning new things. It can take patience, but the truth is that you can teach an old dog new tricks. It is never too late to train your dog! We have some tips below to help teach your dog some new commands while reversing some bad habits.

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

There are numerous positives when it comes to training an older dog. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should wait until your dog is older to start training. However, it does mean that some things may come easier.

  • Older dogs are more likely to know how to learn.
  • The attention span of an older dog far exceeds that of a puppy.
  • Older dogs have often experienced the joy of pleasing their owner.
  • He or she may already know some basic commands.

The benefits of training an older dog are clearly present. However, there are some drawbacks that owners should be aware of.

  • Older dogs could be hard of hearing or blind.
  • Challenges in training can come with arthritis.
  • A training session with an older dog could be exhausting.
  • An adult dog has had time to develop bad habits.

Knowing the pros and cons of training an adult dog can help you to know what to expect. It is important that you treat your dog with patience and kindness as he or she learns new things. It can be time-consuming and challenging, but ultimately a great bonding activity for you and your dog.

Reversing Poor Teachings

If your dog has bad habits, there are ways to reverse his or her learned behavior. It requires a vast amount of patience and tenacity, but poor habits can be reversed. Unteaching your older dog of previous learnings starts with redirecting the action into new behavior. The new behavior must be rewarded, but punishment is often detrimental to the training process. Owners must tread carefully when changing previously learned actions.

Tips for Training an Older Dog

Training a dog, young or old, can be a long process. There is no way to instantly teach your dog something new – it takes repetition and rewards. When you are training an older dog, there are a few things that you may need to focus on. The first of which is his or her natural instinct. Try to lean into your dog’s instincts in the training process. Doing so will be easier for both you and your dog.

You may also want to focus on the kinds of rewards you offer. Many older dogs are thrilled to please their owners, even more so than a puppy. Where a puppy may strive for that tiny treat, an older dog may thrive on extra attention and affection. Of course, older dogs love treats, too! However, adult dogs know the value of positive reinforcement more so than a puppy might.

It’s Never Too Late

You may be feeling overwhelmed at what it can take to train a dog, young or old. If that is the case for you, reach out to Argos Dog Training for help. Our expert trainers can help with teaching dogs of any age or skill level new commands, behaviors, and tricks. With assistance from a trainer, your dog can learn some new skills that’ll help make things easier for you and your dog. Check out our dog training classes offered, including private one-on-one sessions, and contact us today to get started!

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The 5 Basic Commands Every Dog Should Know

teaching a dog commands

Adding a puppy to the family is such an exciting milestone. Whether it’s a new puppy or an adult rescue, chances are, he’ll need some basic training. Before you dive into more advanced skills, there are a few general commands that every dog should be able to perfect. Commands such as sit and stay may seem simple, but when it comes to your dog’s safety, these skills can be imperative. Below are the 5 commands that we recommend starting with and helping your dog to master first. 

Sit

When starting your training sessions, especially with puppies, you have to remember that your furry friend is like a baby. You wouldn’t expect a newborn to be able to run, jump and leap, so you can’t expect that right off the bat with a puppy, either. “Sit” is the most natural behavior for a bog, so it’s a good place to start. It’s also a transition command that is often used sandwiched between other commands, so once he’s mastered this, you can move onto other more advanced commands. 

Down 

“Down” or “lay down” is an especially useful command to be able to gain control of your dog. From a lying position, it’s difficult for a dog to take off or bolt when you’re not looking. For example, if you’re at the dog park and see something in the distance that may startle your dog or cause him to run off, you may want to use the down command to essentially take him out of commission for the time being. It’ll help to keep his focus on staying down, better than the “sit” command would in this scenario. 

Stay 

Another crucial command for safety is “stay.” This command can also be used to keep your dog from running off or to protect him from danger. When teaching this command, you’ll want to start in a spot with minimal distractions. As your dog gets better at the skill, you can start to introduce other stimuli to really master the command and ensure it’ll be effective in potentially dangerous situations where it may be necessary to use. 

Come

Planning to let your dog enjoy some time off-leash? “Come” is an absolute necessity for him to learn before doing so. Off-leash time is a great way to let your dog burn off some energy and have fun, but it can also be dangerous to his safety if he isn’t disciplined to come back to you when it’s time. Training him to learn the “come” command, starting in smaller areas such as your backyard, and slowly progressing to larger places such as the park or a field, is extremely important. 

Heel 

Lastly, dogs need to learn the command “heel” so both his safety and yours. If you’re going for walks in a busy urban area with a lot of traffic and pedestrians, he needs to be able to stop at crosswalks, for oncoming traffic, etc. It’s also important for you to be able to control him on the leash, and the “heel” command will make that possible. 

Argos Dog Training is Here to Assist

If you recently added a new puppy or dog to the family and are overwhelmed with the training he needs or would just like some assistance from the experts, we’re here to help! Our trainers at Argos Dog Training have years of experience training all different breeds and dogs of all skill levels. We offer both group training classes and individual one-on-one training, which can help to address specific behaviors. Contact us today to set up a consultation! 

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Training Tips to Improve Your Dog’s Self Control

Does your dog often misbehave, perhaps by pulling on the leash, or jumping all over you during feeding time? What about paw and whine for attention? While these behaviors are certainly not desirable, the good news is that with a little training, they’re possible to fix. Typically it involves teaching your dog better self-control, which includes a couple of key elements. First, teach them that rewards come from you when the desired behavior is performed. Show your dogs that they will only get what they want by doing the action or behavior that you want. Secondly, teach your dog how they can win these rewards. Your dog will be more fun to live with if you teach them self-control because a patient dog behaves better and is less demanding. If your dog needs help with behavior, the below tips will help improve his or her self control.

Teach your dog to look at you

The first step to increase your dog’s self-control is to make them voluntarily give you their attention. Make some kind of noise to get the attention of your dogs while holding your clicker and/or yummy treats. As soon as he’s looking at you, click, and drop him a treat.

Your dog will make his next choice after he’s got that first treat (either to look back at you or do anything else around him). When he chooses to look back at you again, click and reward him. Steadily increase the number of times your dog will have to look at you for his treat. Ignore him if he jumps up or becomes pushy to get more treats. Only click when he looks up at you gently.

Teach your dog the sit and lie down command

While your dog is in a sitting position, take a treat in your hand, then shift your hand from the nose of your dog to his chest and straight down to the floor. There are fours steps involved in this:

  1. Ensure your dog lies down while following the treat. Applaud and reward him immediately with the treat
  2. You can start saying the word “down” once your dog is easily following the treat into a lying down position 
  3. Practice this in brief but daily sessions several times. 
  4. Give your dog a treat while he is in a lying position- this will maximize the time your dog spends lying down.

Work for dinner 

As you prepare your dog’s dinner, he may pounce on you or jump on the counter before you even put the bowl on the floor. Make your dog work for his dinner rather than allowing it to misbehave. Give your dog the “sit” or “down” while you prepare his meal. Your dog has to sit quietly until you place its meal on the floor before allowing it to eat.

Work for your attention

If you love cuddling and playing with your dog, you have to make him work for your attention. It can be not very pleasant having your dog steadily asking for your attention by prodding his head below your hand or scratching at you. Demand your dog to perform an action, like lying down or sitting before you pet or play a game with him.

Work to Go Out

If your dog loves playing off-leash in your yard, do not allow him to bolt out the door even while he’s scratching or jumping on the floor. Rather, demand the dog first to sit. If he declines to sit, go away from the door for a few minutes, then come back and try again. As soon as he’s sitting, you can then open the door and allow him outside. 

Contact Argos Dog Training 

When it comes to dogs’ training, it can be a difficult process, and sometimes it’s best to enlist professionals. If you’re trying to teach your dog self-control, you can count on Argos Dog Training for assistance. We offer private one-on-one training sessions to address specific behaviors, or group dog training classes. We will take a hands-on strategy together and find a way to fix the issues you have with your dog. Contact us today to set up a consultation and get started! 

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How to Help Your Dog Get the Most out of Training Sessions

dog training sessionWhen training your dog to learn new commands or tricks, it’s important to keep in mind that it can be quite taxing for your dog both mentally and physically. Having patience with your furry friend is key. If you’re just getting started with the training process, we have some helpful tips to make your sessions as effective as possible. Keep reading to learn more about our tips for successful dog training, from session duration to reinforcement methods, distraction control, and beyond. 

Set Aside Time for Training

First, you’ll want to set aside a specific time for training sessions. One mistake that dog owners make early on is trying to sporadically teach commands and tricks here and there when they have the time. In order to get your dog to fully focus and understand that it’s time to learn, you need to set aside training time, just in the same way you’d allot time for yourself to exercise or work. Once you’ve chosen a specific time, it should be a commitment. Do your absolute best to not change, cancel, or cut the time short. This helps your dog stay on schedule and know when it’s training time.

Session Duration

When choosing your time for training, it’s also crucial to keep in mind that dog’s have a short attention span. Sessions of 15 minutes or less are optimal. Dogs get distracted easily, so a quick and effective session is the best way to go. This way, there’s less of a chance he’ll get boredom distracted. 

Helping Your Dog Focus

As mentioned, dogs have a short attention span. When starting your session, pick 1 to 2 commands or tricks you’ll focus on. This helps him to better focus on the task and really learn what you’re trying to achieve. By throwing in too many commands or behaviors for him, he may get more easily frustrated or confused and give up. Set your dog up for success by planning ahead of time! 

Limit Distractions

When you’re first getting started with a new command, try to conduct the sessions in a quiet, private space. This way, your dog can really focus on the new skill without getting easily distracted. As he becomes more comfortable with the command, you can start to add in some distractions, such as other people or pets in the room. You can even try taking him to the park to work on commands. This will be the true test to see if he’s really “mastered” the skill!

Positive Reinforcement

Dogs are just like people in the sense that they respond well to positive reinforcement! It’s important to always end the session on a positive note. This will leave him feeling encouraged and more likely to succeed and be ready for the next session. 

Contact Argos Dog Training

At Argos Dog Training, we have years of experience using different methods for training dogs. If you’re having trouble teaching your dog important skills and commands, we’re here to help!  We offer group dog training sessions and private sessions to really personalize the sessions for your dog’s specific needs. Contact us today to set up a consultation and learn more about what we offer! We’ll transform your dog into a well-trained companion in no time. 

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Keeping Your Dog Active in the Winter Months

Gaining a little extra winter weight isn’t something that only affects humans during the colder months. In fact, your dog is just as likely as you to see a decline in their overall health due to a lack of activity in the winter. Boston has especially cold winters, but there are still plenty of ways to keep your dog (and yourself) active and healthy all year round. Check out some tips below.

Get Some Fresh Air 

Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean your dog won’t enjoy a walk outside. Some breeds even prefer the cold! The only thing you need to be wary of on winter walks is salt treated sidewalks. If the route you’re taking has recently been treated with salt, putting booties on your dog to protect their paws is the best way to ensure the chemicals don’t harm them. Around your own home, opt for pet-safe salt! You might also want to invest in a jacket or sweater for them to keep warm outside even on the chilliest days. 

Utilize Feeding Toys 

Did you know that dogs actually get more enjoyment from their food when they have to work for it? A challenge before they get their reward keeps their brain active and lowers the risk of a dog overheating, which can lead to weight gain. There are a wide variety of feeding toys for different dog sizes and difficulty levels. As your dog gets used to their feeding toy, move up to a more challenging one to keep things interesting! Feeding toys can be used for both meal and snack times to keep the fun going all day long. 

Practice New Tricks 

Spend 15 minutes a day working on new tricks with your dog. Tons of tricks can be done indoors. Shake, sit, lay, roll over, and speak, are some of the most common tricks to start with. Training your dog not only challenges their mind, but it helps strengthen your bond with them too.! Even the oldest of dogs can always learn a new trick

Look for an Obstacle Course Class 

Indoor obstacle courses for dogs are more common than you might realize. Check out your local area to learn more about ways to get your dog out of the house and active without being stuck outside. 

Contact Argos Dog Training

If you’re struggling to train your dog during the winter months or any time of the year, Argos Dog Training can help! As a highly experienced dog trainer, we can teach you everything you need to know to transform even the unruliest pup. Since 2020 has caused all of us to spend more time at home, what better time to start than right now?! Check out our list of dog training courses and private training sessions, and give us a call at 617-302-7467 to get started! 

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