Training a Rescued Older Dog

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Training a Rescued Older Dog

by Rita Wilhelm

It is a widely held misconception that you cannot train an older dog. But the fact is, dogs do not have the capacity to hold and understand what they are being taught until they are 4 months old. Training a dog needs consistent effort and a disciplined approach. You must use the same gestures, body language, and voice commands every time to send across the message consistently. Using different commands for the same activity confuses your dog and makes the training effort worthless.

People usually shy away from adopting an older dog, as they believe the owner has left the dog at the shelter because of some fault in the pet. On the contrary, in most cases it just the opposite. People usually leave their dogs because of their own problems, or they may be no longer be able to care for the dog. It does not matter if you get a pup or an older dog to your house. All dogs can be trained, and older dogs typically have some basic obedience training. Dogs are descendants of wolves, and have carried over some of their characteristics through evolution. This makes them a pack animal. They like to be a part of a group, and your family is their pack. When your dog arrives, you should send a firm message that you are a leader of this pack.

The methods of training do not change much. An advantage to training a young adult dog, is that they are physically more developed and can be made to repeat things and undergo training for longer period of time, compared to puppies.

In extreme cases if you adopt an older dog who has had no previous training, you may need to consult with a trainer or a specialist in dog behaviour. You can then go on with the same routine as that of training a young dog, but with more patience and perseverance. Always remember dogs don?t understand a word you say. They don?t understand English. It is only your gestures and movements that send a signal to your dog to react in a certain manner. To do this you must play the game of action and reward to make your dog do things you want them to do.

Whatever you do never exhibit impatience, and anger to your dog. He may have had several owners, and will need time and your companionship to adjust to the household, and adapt to the new rules.

Rita Wilhelm is founder of PetBoogaloo, where you can have fun and create a free homepage and blog for your pet.

Rita Wilhelm - EzineArticles Expert Author

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