Mention dog obedience training and most people think of a young puppy being taught the basic commands. In fact, you may have heard that it is not possible to train an older dog.
Thankfully, for many people who have adopted an older dog, this is not true and, in fact, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!
Dogs learn new things every day, so teaching the older dog doesn’t have to be any more difficult than teaching a young pup. It really depends on the dog, the bad habits he has picked up and his attitude toward learning.
One thing to remember is that an older dog might have some problems with sight and hearing that need to be taken into consideration when training.
Make sure you speak your commands loudly and that the dog can see your hand signals. If you are far away from your dog and call him and he does not come, it could be because he can’t hear you and not necessarily because he is not obeying the command.
In addition, older dogs might not have the same amount of energy as a young puppy so you might want to make training sessions less strenuous and for shorter time periods. It depends on the age of the dog, of course. A senior dog will have less stamina than one that is 3 or 4 years old.
Adopting an older dog can be rewarding, but he might come along with some bad habits which can be a challenge to break him of. Don’t give up on your older dog, though as it can be done.
You need to remember that some of these bad behaviors have been ingrained in your pet for many years and it might take some special persistence to correct them.
One thing that can really help your dog be as alert and open to training as possible is to make sure he gets the proper nutrition. Be sure to feed him a good commercial food or prepare home made foods for him.
Either way, you want to make sure the majority of his diet comes from meat. Make sure you buy a quality food that lists meat as the first ingredient and has no “by products” on the label.
Training an older dog can be a bit more of a challenge but it can also be very rewarding. Remember, your dog is a pack animal and by proper training you can establish yourself as the alpha dog in your little pack.
Training your dog properly helps him to be well behaved and a pleasure to be around.