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How To Train An Old Dog

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Maybe you’re thinking of adopting an old dog but are concerned that she hasn’t been trained.  Don’t buy into the old adage about not being able to “teach old dogs new tricks.”  The folks at Pet Supplies Reviews shared these great suggestions on how to train an old dog.  So don’t let lack of training be the reason you don’t give an old dog a new home. 

How To Train An Old Dog

All dogs need some basic obedience training. You simply can’t live with a dog that doesn’t understand and obey a few simple commands, and both you and he will be very unhappy if you try. Learning basic obedience doesn’t hurt your dog or suppress his natural instincts. Rather, it allows both of you to enjoy better communication, and a harmonious relationship. If your older dog has not learned these basics – don’t worry, you can teach him. At a minimum, he should know sit, down, come, stay, and heel.

Enroll in obedience classes at a local pet store or ask your veterinarian for a recommendation. Just because your dog is older doesn’t mean he and you cannot benefit from such classes, and many people find them easier then trying to learn how to do the training themselves. Also, obedience classes can offer valuable social contact for both you and your dog, and expose you to situations you may not encounter on your own.

 On the other hand, if you are the do-it-yourself type, you may enjoy the challenge of undertaking obedience training yourself, or you may wish to expand on lessons learned in class. Either way, if you do plan to train your dog yourself, there are several approaches to consider.  

– Older methods employ devices like choke collars and leashes to control the dog’s behavior and provide an uncomfortable stimulus when the dog doesn’t comply. Training techniques following these principles are still used by some trainers, but are largely falling out of favor compared to more humane, modern methods.

 – Newer training techniques employ some type of reward system to encourage your dog to engage in the desired behavior, and are based on the principle of rewarding right behavior, while ignoring bad.

Basically, you get your dog to do what you want him to do, and then give him a reward for doing so – again and again, until the behavior is reinforced and habitual. You keep the behavior by continuing to use rewards on an occasional – and unpredictable – basis. But here too, there are several different approaches:

” One approach favors the use of toys, praise, petting, and other non-food rewards

” The most common of the newer approaches uses a food-based reward system, which most dogs seem to respond well to. ” “Clicker” training employs food or treats in combination with a clicker, or sound-maker, and then transitions to voice commands once the desired behavior is established.

All of these newer techniques should work fine with your older dog. Just be sure you always treat, especially in the beginning, whenever your dog performs as you ask, and be very slow to reprimand. Keep it fun and positive and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your older dog picks up good obedience behaviors!

So remember, whether it’s an aging pet you adopt or your own companion that is inconsistent in following commands,  it’s never too late to train Fifi and Fido.  Do you have personal experience training an old dog?  If so, we’d love for you to share your experience below.

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