How to Train an Older Dog

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1 Response

  1. PW says:

    These basic commands are definitely useful, and changing the training attitude from strict obedience, as my dog obedience class recently taught, to communication and cooperation gets much more satisfying results, as in what you said about how the dogs likes hearing your pleasant voice, no matter what age the dog. I agree about being gentle, patient, and kind, and find it is important to tune in to what your dog hears and understands. For example, when I took my dog to a dog "obedience" class, the focus was that the dogs must obey every single "command" every single time. The attitude wasn't really militaristic, but the instructor was bragging about winning points as militarily perfect competitions, which is really irrelevant to the daily lives of dogs and their caretakers.

    What I discovered was that by talking WITH my dog instead of just to her, she was delighted and SO happy to cooperate. For example, when I need her to heel for safety, to not bother others, or for comfort on the leash for both of us, telling her heel when she is pulling is ineffective. I can use the methods taught by the instructor, which do work, but are slower than just talking with her conversationally — instead of repeating "heel" and anything else taught in the class, I just say, "Relax, Sadie," in a soft, sweet voice after the first "heel." She immediately relaxes and walks easily by my side. Sometimes when she is off the leash, I'll just say, "Walk close to me" or "Stay with me," and it has the same effect.

    You mention that …"your new dog" might have "some bad habits or behaviors that are not acceptable or that may need some retraining." My dog, whom I adopted at age 18 months, had been surrendered twice because she was "untrainable" — the last person to "give up on her" said she was "useless."

    In fact, Sadie is the gentlest, smartest, easiest to train and communicate with dog I have ever had, and
    I have had dogs nearly all of my almost 70 years of life. She is a medium sized herding dog, the kind that is supposed to be hard to satisfy because she is so intelligent, but I find that much of her need is the verbal and mental conversation and communication. She and I were made for each other, and I think that is another factor in dog training.

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