Last Updated on December, 2023
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
At least, that’s the famous proverb. Maybe you’ve been baited into taking this expression literally and thinking it’s true. That training a dog has an expiration date to learn new tricks. Your adult dog is already past their prime.
Everyone is telling you it’s too late.
But is this true?
Don’t worry. We’ve got your tail covered. In this article, we’ll be busting common misconceptions about your older dog and how you can train them without a single ‘paw’-blem.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Old dogs are not too old to be trained and can learn new tricks.
Basic commands should still be taught to older dogs, and bad habits can be unlearned.
Training an older dog should be done with patience and consideration for their age and physical abilities.
Table of Contents
- So What Age is “Too Late” for an Adult Dog?
- Why is House Training an Older Dog So Important Anyways?
- Don’t Wait Around and “Hope” Things Will Work Out
- So, Where Do I Start With Dog Training?
- Tips to Teaching Basic Commands for Adult Dogs
- Your Older Dog is Capable of Socializing
- Be Sure Not to Push Your Dog’s Limits
So What Age is “Too Late” for an Adult Dog?
Well, there is no limit!
That’s right, folks. Your dog is never too old to be trained, regardless of breed or sex. While your senior dog may not be a puppy anymore, that doesn’t mean they can’t learn new tricks.
As their dog trainer, it is up to you to tailor your training methods to suit your older dog’s age and physical condition. It’s a great opportunity for a rewarding learning experience for both of you.
Why is House Training an Older Dog So Important Anyways?
There is no doubt that training a dog is vital to ensure they are the best version of themselves. Also, nobody wants a rabid canine on the loose at home.
Here is why training a dog makes life better for dog owners and their senior pets:
And most of all, training is fun for both of you! There’s nothing that can hold you back from beginning your dog trainer journey with your adult dog, which brings me to my next point.
Don’t Wait Around and “Hope” Things Will Work Out
It’s easy to fall into despair and think everyone else is miles ahead of you with their dogs and puppies.
You might be tempted to let things be and hope your dog will magically shed their bad habits overnight.
I hate breaking it to you, but not everything is that easy.
Remember this: No matter how much of a mess your three-year-old may be right now, it doesn’t matter.
It’s never too late to start.
If you want to change your dog’s life and your own, pick yourself up and get to work. And I will show you just how to achieve that.
So, Where Do I Start With Dog Training?
Ever heard the phrase “communication is key”? Well, it holds in human relationships and with your old dog. As a dog owner, it’s your ticket to understanding your pup’s world.
Let’s roll up our sleeves and tackle some everyday bad habits, starting with the first things to teach your old dog and some nifty tips to make training fun.
First Things to Teach Your Old Dog
Here are some things you should consider teaching your senior dog:
Simple commands: If your dog hasn’t already mastered commands like “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and “come,” now’s a good time to work on these.
Leash manners: Make sure your older dog is comfortable with being on a leash so that they don’t pull or get feisty on walks.
Gentle socialization: If your adult dog hasn’t had many social encounters with other dogs and people, a bit of gentle socialization can help ease their fears or anxieties.
Quiet and calm behavior: Older dogs may be more prone to barking up a storm. Work on teaching them to be calm and quiet when needed.
Regular exercise: This may not be a “command” but keeping your dog physically and mental active is crucial for their health and well-being.
You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks – How to Unlearn Bad Habits?
Think of older dogs as wise, experienced individuals who can sometimes develop quirky habits, just like humans do.
It could be because they never learned the right behaviors when they were younger. Their routine may have changed.
Or they’re feeling a bit achy, bored, or anxious about something.
Either way, it can be super frustrating for you to deal with.
Having an unruly dog chewing on your favorite shoes or digging holes in your flower bed can seriously ruin your day.
But the good news is that your dog is capable of obedience!
Are you tired of your older dog turning everything in the house into a chew toy? Don’t worry; you can curb those chewing habits with a bit of know-how and patience.
The first step is figuring out why your dog chews in the first place. It could be boredom, anxiety, teeth discomfort, or even dental issues. Understanding the root cause is vital to training your dog out of the habit.
You can then proceed to take the following measures:
Again, this behavior possibly stems from boredom or anxiety. Or it could even be your dog on a quest for cooler ground on hot days, a treasure hunt for critters, or just good old-fashioned fun:
I’m sure by now you’re tired of your older dog serenading you with non-stop barking.
It’s time to turn down the volume of this canine chorus with a few simple strategies:
Pulling on Leash
Is your senior dog taking you for a walk rather than the other way around? Leash pulling can make walks less enjoyable, but fear not—we’ve got an obedience training game plan to get things back on track:
Potty training an older dog might sound like a Herculean task to you, but it is, in fact, quite simple. First, consult your dog’s veterinarian to ensure they are healthy.
Once you have the green light, it’s time to establish a routine:
Tips to Teaching Basic Commands for Adult Dogs
You must teach your dog basic commands, as it is the key to unlocking that level of bonding and communication with your dog.
Here’s a pawsitive approach to get you started:
Your Older Dog is Capable of Socializing
Younger dogs typically have a better time socializing with other dogs and new people from 3 to 8 weeks. Your dog may have missed out on an early socialization period, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
Other guides and tools you might need when training your dog:
Be Sure Not to Push Your Dog’s Limits
Think of it as taking a leisurely stroll rather than a sprint when it comes to training an older dog.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of teaching them new things, but remember, pushing too hard can stress them out and put them at risk of injury. Your dog might have a few physical limitations and might not be as quick to catch on.
I advise focusing on one behavior at a time instead of overwhelming your dog with too many commands. Always keep their rest and well-being in mind, and chat with your vet to make sure the training suits your dog’s age and health.
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