Can you teach an OLD dog a new trick?
We have all heard the saying “you can’t teach an old dog a new trick” Is this true? If the dog is just old or older without any conditions limiting it, they will be more than happy to show you that they in fact can learn new tricks.
Your dog is always eager to please, no matter what age. The tried and true method that always works is positive reinforcement. Through reward training, patience and positive reinforcement through language, tone and choice of words.A great way to keep your dog focused is by using dog treats, along with positive reinforcement and always keep in mind that the more patience you have given increases your chances of achieving your outcome. Keep it structured, be consistent, but most of all keep it fun and interesting.
Positive, positive, positive. It may be easier than you expected since your dog will already be more patient and certainly more focused than a puppy would.
If you find yourself with an older dog that has recently joined your family, you should gather as much information about your new pal as you can. Learning what your older pet can or can’t do will help in shaping how to direct your training. Trying to get an older dog to break some learned “bad habits” takes more time and patience that teaching them a completely new trick. Old habits die hard, they’ve carried these habits for a long time.
When you are training or retraining your senior dog always be aware of using a step by step method. Break the training down into smaller step by step components and only move forward after each step has been achieved. During this time spent with your older dog you are building unbreakable bonds.
Keep in mind your dog will always be eager to please. When retraining and breaking old habits always look to an alternate behaviour to replace the old one. Knowing and getting to know your dog will help you recognise what changes are best tailored for your dog.
Do not try to have your dog learn things that due to the age and health are not realistic. Keep the learning and tricks appropriate for the dog’s health, age and ability. Older dogs also tire quickly, look for these signs and know when to stop. Pay attention to what your dog is trying to tell you. Through body language, barking or posture.
Secrets to success:
- Your dog wants to please you, He or she will always be your best friend.
- Trust your dog because your dog will always trust you.
- Know what your dog can realistically be able to achieve
- Know when training sessions should end.
- Always keep training fun and enjoyable.
- Be positive, positive, positive.
- Use a step by step method with positive reinforcement.
- Use treats to keep dog interested and focused.
- Use praise to replace treats as new tasks are achieved.
- Be consistent in your training.
- One trick or behaviour at a time.
- Results could be slow, but be consistent, don’t give up.
Yes you can teach an old dog a new trick, and in the process your dog might be able to teach you a thing or two. Always be in tune to the subtle cues your dog is giving you. Enjoy the process and always keep it fun.