You have likely heard the common phrase “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. It has a nice ring to it and most people get the gist of what it means, but the truth is that you absolutely CAN teach an old dog new tricks. It is never too late to train a dog. You may have adopted an old dog from a shelter or perhaps you simply want to work on your own older dog’s behavior. While there are definitely benefits to training a puppy, there are actually a number of benefits that come with training an older dog as well.
Benefits of Training an Older Dog
One of the major benefits of training an older dog is they likely already know several commands. They have been around humans for years and have probably picked up a number of human words. Another thing that makes working with older dogs quite a bit easier is that they have a longer attention span then puppies. Puppies often have trouble focusing on training tasks as they have so much energy.
According to the American Kennel Club, training older dogs will also help “keep them in good physical shape and at a good healthy weight, and will also keep them mentally and socially engaged through training and outings.”
Difficulties With Training Old Dogs
We ran through some of the ways that training an older dog can be easier, but there are certainly some difficulties that you might face that you wouldn’t have to worry about with a new pup. The biggest hurdle is that you sometimes need to “untrain” bad habits before they can learn good habits. Some of these bad habits could include chewing on things that you don’t want them chewing on, barking at the door, or pulling on the leash. The best way to redirect bad habits into good habits is through positive reinforcement training. One of the most common ways of providing positive reinforcement is to give treats when they perform the task you want them to do.
How to Train an Older Dog: Start With Simple Commands
Older dogs can be as eager to learn as puppies, but it may take a little more time for them to get it. Start with simple commands like “sit” and “shake”. If they respond correctly, give them a treat and with time they will learn that sitting and shaking are positive things. These commands are ideal because they are easy to learn and don’t require an older dog to move around too much.
Contact Michael’s Pack About Our Dog Training Services
Michael Schaier and the rest of the team at Michael’s Pack are local dog trainers committed to helping New York and New Jersey clients train their dogs in their home environment in a way that will create a healthy, happy bond with your pet.
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