Tips To Consider When Training An Older Dog

The vast majority of people believe that the best time to train a dog is during the early formative years. This may well be true, but it doesn't mean you "can't teach an old dog new tricks”.

The older dog may be a little harder to teach, but it's not out of the question.

Although it is hard work training an older dog the following tips will smooth the way for you.

The hardest part of the new training may be the part where you have to break the old bad habits the K-9 may have acquired through the years.

As an example, when the dog is very sociable, it may have a habit of jumping on people when it first greets them.

This can be extremely embarrassing for you and may even be frightening for some of your guest.

The quickest and easiest way to solve this problem is of course to simply secure the dog in an area away from your guest.

However, an older dog in this case may be easier to train than a younger dog, as they tend not to get as excited as the younger pooches.

In this case the use of a short leash and collar will restrict the dog from jumping on the guest.

As they desist from the jumping be sure to praise and reward him/her with kind words.

Over a period of time the older dog will replace the "bad jumping habit" with the new one of calmly waiting for the "OK" to greet the guest.

Depending on the age of the pooch you may find the animal has some physical limitations, which will have a bearing on the kind of training you can give to your dog.

Be alert for signs of arthritis, displaced joints, muscle damage and other possible injuries when training.

The animal will normally reveal such problems with a whine, limp, stiffness or even refusal to respond because of pain.

In this same vain an older animal will tire more easily than a younger one.

You may find your more mature pet will learn quicker and easier if you keep your training sessions to a shorter period of time.

Several short sessions will accomplish the same objective, as the longer ones, and will give your beloved pet more time rest.

The actual learning pace of the older pooch may be somewhat slower than a younger one. Some dogs may show a decline in their learning skills as they grow older.

Therefore, you will need to allow your pet to learn at their own speed. If you rush the dog, during the training cycle, you may cause more harm than good.

As we all know when training any dog, regardless of age, the use of praise (including petting) and treats is an important part of the training.

However, with older dogs especially, it is best to use the treats sparingly. If you over treat the dog you may add unhealthy weight to your animal, which in turn can lead to other health problems.

Remember, that often times, the dog will respond just as well to hugs and sincere praise as they will to a treat.

It is important for you to remember that, just like humans, older dogs will make mistakes when learning something new.

If this is the case don't resort to yelling and hollering or to physical abuse of any sort to your pet.

The only thing you will do is confuse the poor animal and you may cancel out what you have already accomplished.

However, you still need to correct the dog and let it know it has done something wrong.

This can be accomplished with the proper voice tone and body language demonstrated by you.

Remember to use very short phrases or single words to express your displeasure with the performance.

Repetition and consistency will help the dog understand when it has done something wrong and will also convey to the dog when it has performed well.

Training an older dog can be more difficult than a younger dog. You, as the trainer and master, are ultimately responsible for the effectiveness of the training.

By being patient, consistent and repetitive in your methods you will be able to teach and old dog new tricks.

Learn more here on my online guide for how to train your dog not to bark which shows you how to understand and stop annoying dog habits like barking, jumping on people, destroying stuff and begging.

What’s your biggest issue with training your dogs bad habits?

How do you handle it – or can you think of any additional tips you can share with others here if you don’t have an issue with your dog to stop its bad behaviour in your life?

Share them with us below – and then share this blog post on Twitter or Facebook or wherever you feel it could help someone you know.

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