Question: Can You Teach An Old Dog New Tricks?
Why do most people only think that you can only teach a puppy new tricks? Maybe because you’ve heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” the fact is that you can teach an old dog just about anything! It’s never too late to train a dog.
Maybe you are rescuing an older dog from a shelter, or you just want to work with your own older dog, there’s no reason to put off training now your older dog.
There are some advantages to working with an older dog because older dogs should already know commands. Their attention span is much better than puppies. Plus, they can usually understand what you want them to do because they already know a lot of human words. Older dogs also know how to learn things that we want to teach them.
If you are starting from scratch with an older dog and he doesn’t know any commands, he should know at least a few basic words such as “good dog” and “no.” He already understands basic training concepts that you would have to spend time teaching to a younger dog.
Older dogs are often eager to please, too. They appreciate it when you spend time with them.
Also, you may have to make some allowances for older dogs. An older dog may not have the energy or as active as a puppy. Depending on the age of your dog there may have some health issues to take note of when you train.
Such as, if your older dog has some arthritis, then allow him time when he sits and gets up and down repeatedly. This may cause him a little pain. If you’re training requires your dog to do things quickly then give him some extra time. Also, try to take into consideration, doing strenuous physical activity it takes longer at his age.
If you have previously trained him you may need to “unteach” him anything previous learned, because those lessons may hinder your current training. He may have had bad experiences, so you will need to carefully re-train him around those experiences.
If you are interested in retraining an older dog for some specialized training, such as hunting or herding, most older dogs are able to pick up these jobs and excel. They may already have a natural instinct and so they will probably enjoy the work and likely to love the training and learn fast.
On the whole, there is no reason why you can’t train an older dog. You should find that their experience and their ability to focus is very great. They have often have gained wisdom in the course of their lives and can apply this to your training.
I’m not saying that it’s better to wait for your dog is older to begin training. Starting with a puppy or younger dog, is definitely to your advantage to begin training right away. Somewhere along the way people have told us that dogs at a certain age that training won’t work, or it just won’t do the dog any good.
That is simply not true!
It’s never too late to train a dog. Spend the time training your older dog and you’ll see him come alive again. He may even be like a puppy again, enjoy his work and love spending time with you.
If you have any questions about how to raise, train, feed or any other issues with your new puppy or dog, please comment below.