It is never too late to train a dog, no matter how old. However, a dog owner must understand that in order to teach an old dog new tricks, the owner or professional trainer must have the skills, knowledge, and patience required to handle the job.
One of the most important takeaways in training an older dog is that they will most likely learn a behavior quicker through the reward, or positive reinforcement, method.
This method involves telling or showing your dog the behavior you want them to perform. Once the dog performs the trick correctly, the owner will give them a treat. Be sure to attach a verbal command or gesture that will help prompt the dog at a later date to do the behavior.
Be Patient & Optomistic
Just like humans, the older a dog gets, the less capable they will be of performing physical behaviors that require a lot of energy. Anything over teaching the standard game of fetch could be too exhausted for your older canine.
Be sure to set realistic expectations and goals for your dog so you both don’t become frustrated. Seeking the knowledge and wisdom from your local veterinarian can be of use before you start training. They will be able to determine whether or not your dog is capable of learning certain types of commands or tricks. They will also scan your dog for canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (canine dementia).
The benefits of training an older dog that may have developed some bad habits in his previous years are boundless. As any dog owner can attest to, training your dog reveals an entirely new level of bonding and communication. Another benefit is with better training, you will be able to keep your dog safe. Simply walking out the door with your dog and they are exposed to stimuli that could put them in danger, such as an oncoming car. Having a “STOP!” command can prevent serious trouble.
Remember that if your are having any trouble with the training or want training tips, enroll your dog in a dog training class. Many canine training facilities, such as Canine College Bow Wow Resort, even offer in-home private training classes that can help an older dog feel less overwhelmed.