21 Aug 2018 How to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
You may have heard that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but in fact the opposite is true! Your dog is never too old to learn new tricks as long as you have patience and are willing to work with them. In fact, often times adult dogs are easier to train than puppies because they have more self-control. Teaching your adult or senior dog new tricks can help give them the mental stimulation and structure they need to keep their mind sharp in old age.
Patience is Key
If you’ve just adopted an adult or older dog, it may take some time for them to adjust to their new home and routine. For any older dog, entering a new environment or having to take on a new structure can throw them off and require an adjustment period of a few days to a few weeks. Whether you’re training a newly adopted dog or an old friend who’s been part of the family for some time, it’s important to incorporate a lot of patience into your new training regime. Don’t give up on your dog after only a couple of days. Older dogs need more time and to move more slowly than their younger counterparts. Remember that there is a specific set of challenges that come with training a shelter dog, especially an older one.
Utilize a Crate When Housetraining
Just because your dog is an adult, doesn’t mean that they will be completely housetrained. Just like you would housetrain a puppy, using a crate to house train your older dog is still the most effective method. Keep your dog in a crate when you’re not able to supervise them and immediately take them to the place where you want them to use the bathroom outside as soon as you let them out of their crate. The good news is that older dogs have more control over their bladder unlike puppies, so housetraining should go by a lot faster.
Try Out an Obedience Class
If you don’t have the time or patience to dedicate to teaching your old dog new tricks, you can always try enrolling them in an obedience class taught by professionals. An obedience class can teach your dog, no matter how old, everything from basic commands to walking on a loose leash and even laying down. Obedience class is also a great place for your dog to socialize with other dogs and humans, and have some time to play and exercise. Obedience classes are a safe environment with professionals that can give you advice and help you train your older adult dog.
Always Keep it Positive
Positive reinforcement always works best when training a dog, especially an older one. Giving your dog tasty treats and a lot of positive praise is a great way to train any dog regardless of age or breed. Positive reinforcement can make training fun for both you and your furry friend.