6 Tips To Teach An Old Dog Some New Tricks

Adopting an older dog has many advantages that will make him a wonderful addition to your household.  Unfortunately, if he is set in his ways, you’re facing a bit of a challenge when it comes to training.  Whatever his situation, you can teach your older dog new tricks; the following tips will help.

1. Keep the sessions short and sweet.
Start with a ten minute lesson and simply introduce the dog to the learning process.  Simple commands and positive interaction will show him that training is something to look forward to and not dread.  His attention may waiver or he could tire quickly, so never force him to keep going when the signs indicate resistance.

2. Be consistent in your training methods.
Your dog must understand exactly what it is you are asking of him, otherwise you can’t expect him to succeed.  Always use the same verbal commands for the same tasks and keep your tone even unless you are praising or correcting.  Try and train in the same place every time and make sure it is free from distractions.

3. Make it fun for the dog.

Your dog should consider this extra quality time with you; shower him with affection and praise both when beginning and ending each session.  Buy new toys that you can use to play once the work is out of the way and partake of his favorite activity, such as a walk to the park or extra long fur-brushing session.

4. Take your dog to the vet for persistent problems.
If your dog is non-responsive to training, there may be something going on with him.  Rule out any medical issues by visiting your vet and discussing the situation in-depth.  He may have a deficiency that is causing him to be tired or something else that you can’t see.  Ask the vet about his diet while you are there, to make sure it’s appropriate for his age, weight and nutritional needs.

5. See it from the dog’s point of view and be patient.
Pay close attention to his reactions and try to determine what he is thinking:  Does he simply want to get back to his nap?  Is he afraid of not being able to do what it is you’re asking?  Does he expect punishment to come out of this?  Having a little empathy for him can serve you both well in that you can modify training to better suit him and achieve the success you both are looking for.

6. Never punish your dog for not getting it right.

No matter what comes of each training session, don’t be too hard on himPunishment will lead to fear and he will never be able to focus on the task at hand.  So long as he knows you still care for him, he will be willing to try and try again.  It’s up to you to formulate a plan that works for him and to reinforce that program with positive rewards that are worth the effort he has to put in.

Hopefully these tips give you a big jump-start on training your older dog.  With time and patience, he will adjust well and be a healthy, happy addition to the family.

Mark Mansfield

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