Maybe you’ve heard and even believe the old adage: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” The good news is that this is not true! Dogs are innately good learners—no matter what their age, they are naturally inquisitive and are eager to grasp new experiences.
Here are 5 tips when teaching your old friend new tricks.
1. Recognize and respect your dog’s limits. Before starting any training, it’s important to carefully consider the age and health condition of your four-legged friend. Take your dog in for a checkup and once the vet gives the okay for training sessions, you can start.
2. Use training as a way to build trust and a strong friendship with your dog. Training activities are a great way to bond as long as they are fun for you and your dog. If you need some ideas for what to teach your dog, start with the “7 Basic Commands” and work your way up from there!
3. Keep training sessions short. Although an older dog has the capacity to focus longer than a puppy, an older dog will tire more easily, so be aware of signs of exhaustion or boredom.
4. Never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement! Use dog treats and praise as a means to steer the dog’s behavior and motivate him to learn new things.
5. Be patient. Remember that dog training requires time and consistency and won’t happen overnight. (Research says it takes up to 4 weeks for an old dog to learn new things).