Tips for Training an Older Dog

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Tips for Training an Older Dog

by Andrew Bicknell

There is a saying that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". For many people with an older dog that was never properly trained they probably think this is true. Just like people do, when dogs get older they get pretty set in their ways. Think old and stubborn. This of course is not entirely true; it is possible to train an older dog but it will take more time and patience.

The thing with older dogs is they have been behaving in a certain way their entire life and to them that is the way things are. They do not distinguish between right and wrong like people do. For a dog repetition is their primary way of learning and if all they've done is the wrong thing their whole life their behavior will reflect that.

One thing you can try with an older dog is to make the training you are doing seem like it is actually the dogs idea. If he thinks it's his idea he will more than likely keep doing it. He probably will resist your attempts to force him to do something like sit. But if he sits on his own give the command "sit" at the same time and reward or praise him. If you keep doing this, repetition, before long your old dog will be sitting when you tell him to. You can use this technique with a variety of commands such as come, heel, and stay.

It is certainly not true that all older dogs are more difficult to train but for the vast majority of dog owners this is the case. Dealing with the stubbornness of a dog set in their ways can be difficult and frustrating but if your dog is exhibiting bad habits and behavior it is important to break them of that. In the long run have a well trained and obedient dog will make both you and your dog much happier and will lead to a stronger bond.

If your old dog is being particularly stubborn and your not making any head way on your own then consider joining a dog training class or working with a professional dog trainer. This will give you the benefit of working with people who have experience with all sorts of dogs and their different behaviors. You might be amazed how quickly your dog responds to someone who knows how to deal with their behavior problems. These are also lessons you can take home and continue to use as you train your old dog to do new tricks.

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