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!