Training an Older Dog

In keeping with the series on kicking off the year 2013 with good habits, learn how to train an older dog, who might be a bit unenthusiastic.

Puppies are not the only age group of dogs that require training! Teaching your pooch obedience skills and other tricks is a lifelong endeavor. While it is easier to train puppies, training older dogs is not impossible. Some helpful tips are:

  • Have a Reward: Just like with puppies, motivation is crucial in training an adult dog. Motivation can either be a tasty treat, or praise and affection. Either way, be sure to let your dog know that it performed the skill correctly to instill a good habit.
  • Scold When Necessary: Just like praising your pet for performing appropriately, you must also scold your pet when it does the wrong action. An example of this is that if you have a certain spot in the yard where you wish your pet to use the “bathroom,” you should praise it when it goes to that spot, and scold when it relieves itself elsewhere. Older dogs are exactly like puppies in this manner. The proper amount of scolding is just when your dog understands it performed the skill incorrectly. Never scold in abundance or be violent with your pet. As for praise, pile it on!
  • Be Consistent: Adult pooches may need even more consistency in training than puppies. This is because you are breaking old habits versus only creating brand new ones. You must watch your pet carefully, and always praise or scold when it is necessary. If you give your adult furry friend mixed signals, chances are that the training will not stick.

Who says that an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Prove that saying wrong with the tips shown above, and consult with your veterinarian for more ideas.

If you’ve had success in this area, share your tips!

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