6 ways to teach new tricks to an old dog
How to teach new tricks to an old dog?
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t teach old dog new tricks?” Well, you might have heard it and concluded that it is too late to train your old dog some new habits or tricks. However, this is just an idiom and you should treat it as so when it comes to the training of your adult canine. In fact, you might be amazed at how your old dog is able to learn new things and concentrate throughout the entire process. The old guards are even easier to train than young puppies since their concentration is more focused.
As with human beings, old dogs are easily composed and more patient that pups. Many old pooches can adapt fairly fast to new tricks and with consistence, you will be able to enjoy some amazing results. It is however important to adopt the reward training approach as this is always key when dealing with your adult dogs. This approach normally helps instill new behaviors while at the same time reducing the old, bad manners. This guide will help you work out the magic and instill new behaviors to your dog within a short time but with lasting results.
What you require
When training your old and best friend, you will win if you have two things always. These should constantly be with you whenever you embark on your training moments.
- Dog treats
It is always important to ensure that your treats are of good quality and something that appeals to your dog more effectively. This will call on you to know your dog’s preferences and make sure you have that at hand whenever you embark on the training. Do not expect quick results thus compromising on the quantity of your patience. If you exhibit any sort of impatience, you could end up frustrated and this will abort your mission or hamper your success.
Evaluate the dog’s physical abilities
Age advancement means that your dog will do different activities a little bit slower than young dogs. When it comes to running, jumping or even leaping, older dogs will respond with little lower levels of strength than puppies or much younger dogs. Before you start issuing some instructions to your
Set clear training goals
Have clear goals on what you want to achieve with your training. It is good to come up with a proper program on what you want to teach your dog and this could include tricks such as speak, sit, lay down or heel on command. If you have an established trusting relationship with your old dog, training these commands will be easy since the canine will be calmer and friendlier to such commands.
Always reward good behavior at the beginning
You don’t want to make this a habit but it is always important to reward your dog for good behavior. You can use a toy or treat for this. Avoid punishing or rewarding bad behavior as this could agitate the dog or encourage such behavior in the dog.
Don’t start with big steps
Even though you are training an old dog, it is always important to begin with small and measurable steps. It is like taking an old guy without previous schooling experience to class. You neither start with difficult things nor push the guy into learning for many hours. Instead, you start with the basics, shorten the learning sessions and hope for the best. Older dogs normally tire quickly and could lose concentration if you push them too hard. Keep the sessions short and let the learning ne sequential.
Be consistent when giving commands
Consistency is very important when giving commands to an old dog. However, always remember to follow this with a reward if the dog obeys your commands. You should not wait too long to give the reward but instead you should give it immediately to affirm the positive response and behavior in the dog.
Always hold your cool when training your dog and don’t expect things to work super fast or immediately. Your old pet isn’t used to the new kind of life you are introducing it to and therefore only patience will reward your efforts. However, consistency will bring notable changes within the first few weeks and you must not give up at all.
Training basis foundational tricks to your old dog
Start with the crates
Although your dog is larger and older, you will need to constrict it with a crate. This is the basic starting point which applies to both puppies and oldies. Crate training is the most effective method especially if you are house training the dog. However, you will need to look for the right size of the crate and make sure your dog is able to build endurance to stay inside. The old dog should adapt to the crate, making it a den of a kind. Old dogs normally have greater control over their bowels or bladders and this makes crate training less time-consuming and easier.
In case your dog is too old and unable to control the bowels/bladder effectively, frequent potty trips will be necessary. Using a crate helps in the training because it utilizes the dog’s natural instinct not to mess up the crate (its den). Many dogs normally put extra effort to “hold it” while in the den (crate) even when they feel like they really need to relieve themselves. However, you should not take excessive advantage of their efforts as this could make the dog suffer. Additionally, you should avoid wasting time when you release the dog. Put a leash on the canine and release him right away.
Always reward your dog and give some food to help it associate the treat with the positive experience. Always avoid using crates to punish dogs as they would easily consider them to be prisons and therefore revolt against your training efforts.
Important crate training guidelines
- Always make sure that your crate of choice is easy to clean and have sufficient odor and urine stain removal products.
- Establish a predictable daily routine and always crate the dog when he is unsupervised. Additionally, give him 4-5 potty breaks per day.
- Restrict the dogs access to your house
- Supply your dog with chewable, washable toys while inside the crate.
- Learn to differentiate between genuine separation anxiety from whiny complaints.
Teach basic dog obedience skills
Obedience training is one of the most important lessons that your old dog must learn especially is it has a habit of pulling the leash, jumping on everyone and refusing to listen to simple instructions that you give. A dog that behaves badly will make things messy for you and even make children and visitors feel unsafe. It is therefore important to train your dog on the acceptable behavior while inside and outside his house. Teaching obedience to an old dog will take more time that it would if you are to train a puppy. However, being patient, consistent, firm (and loving) and determined will bring good results.
How to train obedience to your dog
When training your dog obedience, always begin with the “sit” command and once he masters this, follow up by training “down”, then “stay” followed by “come” in that order. Although “come” command is the most important, it is important to note that it is also the most difficult and you do not want to start your old student with the more complex lessons.
- Always use affirmative, reward-based training methods. What this means is that your dog will need encouragement to succeed and once he does, a reward should be given. On the other hand, failure should not be punished but instead you should begin the process again from scratch.
- Set aside some specific times to work on your training each day. You should not combine different commands at the same time as this will only confuse your old dog and result in failure. Always begin with a single command and once your dog has mastered it, go to the next command. After your dog masters the second command, feel free to combine the two in one lesson and build on the sequence. Always make sure to repeat each of the commands and only end with a treat (and commend your dog) when he succeeds.
- If you move to the next lesson and the dog doesn’t succeed, always conclude the training with something he has already mastered and follow his obedience with a reward. For example, if you have reached the “stay” command but the oldie doesn’t succeed during training, always revert to “sit” and “down” at the end of the lesson.
Mostly, training an old dog works well if you already have already bonded and established a relationship with him. At some point, you might find it necessary to enroll the dog in a formal class where he will be handled by a professional trainer. However, you should not give up even when things do not seem to be working as quickly as you would. Always remember that you are teaching a veteran some new tricks and this might require a greater investment of time and energy. The results are always worth the efforts and will leave your dog being more obedient, social and better. There are many lessons that your dog can learn such as meet-and-greet, socialization skills and leash training among others. All these are necessary as they not only improve your dog’s quality of life but also helps you enjoy a greater peace of mind.