Can You Train an Old Dog? 5 Things You Need to Know About Training an Old Dog

The best time to train your dog is when your dog is growing up even though it’s usually not an easy task, it’s still worth it because once they eventually learn they’ll carry what they have learnt all through life. So your puppy is now an older dog and there are still things you’d love your dog to learn, you start thinking if it’s possible to train old age. Is training an older dog possible? Yes! It is.

Contrary to what many may believe it’s quite easy to train an old dog, as a matter of fact, training an old dog is even easier than training a puppy because old dogs are less distracted and are more self-aware so they’d want to do things that’ll make you happy. Also training an old dog makes your dog’s mind sharp and it also offers your dog the mental structure and stimulation it needs.

It’s obvious training an old dog is not going to be the same as training a puppy or a younger dog. That’s why in today’s blog post, I’ll be telling 5 things you need to know about training an old dog.

1. Learn about what your dog already knows

If you recently adopted an old dog from the shelter then you are most likely clueless about the kind of training the dog has or if the dog has had any training at all. Hence, the first step is usually to determine what your dog already knows.

You can start by checking if the dog understands basic household commands like sit, stand, rollover, etc. Then over the first few days, you can take your time to observe your dog’s bathroom habits and the cues they use to tell you when they feel like going outside.

This same approach can be used or applied to dogs that have been with you, throughout their whole life. The thing is when our puppies are growing we spend time drilling basic commands and tricks into our dogs and as they grow up they tend to forget some of the tricks that’s why it’s always best to run an assessment of what they already know or what they can remember so you’ll be able to accurately determine what your furry friend needs to learn.

2. Practice using a crate for house training

This tip is more tailored for people who just adopted an old dog. When it comes to an old it’s not usually safe to assume that the dog is already house trained or knows how to behave in the house. The rule with old dogs is to treat them the same way you would a puppy. Hence if you’d keep your puppy in a crate to keep them well behaved when you are not around the same should be applied to an old dog.

When selecting a crate, make sure that the crate you have chosen is comfortable and large enough to accommodate your old dog. By large enough, I mean that the dog should have room enough to stand, stretch, or move around if it needs to.

Do not keep your old dog in a crate all the time, to make it more accustomed to its surroundings, you can take your dog for a walk around your house and if you need be, your surrounding, using waterproof barking collars for dog as a corrective measure for times they might misbehave.

3. Enrol your old dog into an obedience class 

Puppies aren’t the only dogs that can benefit from obedience classes, old dogs can as well and it doesn’t matter if the dog has never had any obedience in the past. Your older dog will be able to learn basic or domestic commands like lying down, sitting down, etc.

The obedience class isn’t for teaching alone, it’s also a great place for your dog to learn to socialize with other people as well as other dogs. With obedience classes, you’ll be able to see how your dog reacts to other dogs as well as strangers in a safe environment and with a professional dog trainer who’s always ready to offer advice.

4. Consider the dog’s age

Even though older dogs can learn new tricks, it doesn’t mean that you should totally forget that age is still a factor to be considered. While older dogs may want to please you, it may just be that what you are asking of your dog is too tiring or painful to do.

Your old dog is no longer a puppy so you shouldn’t expect it to have the same energy it once had. This means that it won’t be able to catch your ball over and over again each time you throw it, sitting and standing up on command may hurt your dog’s hips, etc. A good way to know that your dog isn’t comfortable with the action is when he/she obeys first and stops along the way and sometimes the behaviour is not born out of disobedience but simply because it’s tiring or hurting.

Older dogs often have health issues such as difficulty with hearing or vision issues. So before training or teaching your old dog new tricks you’ll have to check with your veterinary doctor to see if your dog has any physical limitations and if it does then you’ll have to adjust your training accordingly.

5. Patience and positivity is key

You won’t be able to train an older dog if you aren’t positive or patient. Your older dog may be a little slower to learn but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t want to learn. Give your old dog time to learn the new thing you are teaching him and also try to encourage them by giving your dog treats each time he/she does something good or something you want them to do. Always try to make your training sessions fun and adventurous that way your old will always be looking forward to your training sessions.

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