Is Training Just For Puppies?
You are likely aware of the old saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. But can you? Lots of pet owners will adopt older dogs and wonder if they are too late to be trained. Many times people will put up with unwanted behaviors and issues for far too long, thinking their dog is untrainable. This is just not the case. Older dogs can be trained. We are here to give you a few unique tips geared explicitly toward training an older dog.
The first step in training in an older dog is identifying the issues that need to be worked on immediately. If your dog is still not housebroken, that is a priority. If your dog tackles your aunt every time she comes over for a visit, that is a problem. Choose the things that you need to work on first and set a priority too them. You can't expect your dog is going to fix all of these behaviors on the first day of training. Set small goals and work through the issues together.
Sometimes dogs don't want to be trained because of a prior bad experience with training. Many older dogs could have been in several homes where training consisted of yelling or any type of negative reinforcement. If you start your training by rewarding the right behaviors, you are well on your way to establishing a trusted and healthy relationship with your dog.
If you feel you are getting nowhere with training your dog, don't be afraid to seek professional help. The longer the problems continue, the harder the behaviors can be to fix. A professional dog training service can give you some guidance and simple exercises to get you headed in a direction where you feel as though you are in control again.
If you are serious about training an older dog, everybody in the house needs to be on the same page. Nothing is more confusing to an animal when mom lets him sit on the couch, but dad doesn't. Any type of learning consistency is a huge factor. When you identify those problem areas that you want to work on with your dog, make sure you communicate this to the entire family. Choose a plan of action, use the positive reinforcement, and make sure everybody sticks to the program.
Dog training can take time. You can't expect an older dog to change their ways overnight. Give the dog the time that they deserve as it is not their fault they have not been adequately trained. If you have had your dog since it was a puppy and you have not been able to teach it, you will have to be extraordinarily patient. This dog has become used to you and your family and the routines and rules in place. When those things start to change, it is very confusing.
Dogs of any age can learn new tricks when they have patient and caring owners that take the time to help them. If you are struggling with your dog training needs, please don't hesitate to reach out, and we will help you in this process.