When you talk about dog training, usually you imagine training younger dogs. However, older dogs still need to be trained; especially if they have received no prior training prior to you bring them home.
Many people follow the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. They simply leave the dog to do whatever it likes as they feel that it would be too much of a process to change the behavior. However it is possible to teach an older dog new tricks, it just requires a little more patience than it would with a younger dog.
Why it is more difficult to Train an Older Dog
The main reason it is more difficult to train an older dog is because they are used to doing things a specific way. The longer the dog has been behaving a certain way, the longer it will take for you to change that behavior. The same can be said of humans. When you have been doing something for so long, it becomes a strong part of your routine. Changing can be tough and that is exactly what it is like for older dogs. They get confused because they are suddenly being told that what they have done all of their lives is wrong.
However while it may be more difficult training an older dog, it is still possible. The techniques are the same as what you would use to train a younger dog; you just need to be a little more patient and persistent.
Housetraining an Older Dog
It is important that each time the dog has an accident indoors that you clean it up right away. This is because if the dog smells the accident again, it is likely to go to the toilet in the same area. Completely clean the home to ensure that there is no smell left over. Then once the house is clean, it is up to you to take notice of when the dog will need to relieve themselves.
Usually an adult dog will need to relieve themselves first thing in the morning, last thing at night and every hour or two throughout the day. That is just while they get used to their new surroundings. Once they have learned that they are to relieve themselves outdoors you should find that they tell you when they need to go out by going to the door or by coming to you and whining.
If the dog is housetrained then there may be other training that is required. Do they know basic commands? Commands such as “Sit”, “Down” and “Stay” all come in extremely handy in everyday situations.
Training an older dog these commands will not always be easy. However you just need to follow the same methods as you would with a younger dog. For sit when you give the command you can use a treat to make it easier. Hold the treat in your hand and close your fingers around it. Allow the dog to sniff the treat and as you say “Sit” raise your hand up above the dogs head. This usually causes the dog to sit down. If it doesn’t, you can use your other hand to gently push down the dog’s bottom as you repeat the command. As soon as they do, give them the treat and praise them. You will need to repeat this exercise quite a few times before the dog will realize what you are asking them to do.
The main thing that you need to remember with older dogs is that they can learn, you just have to be a little more patient and understanding with them. As long as you persist with the commands and you commit to training every day, you can teach an older dog how to behave. So if you are looking to train your older dog, just be patient and persistent and you will get the results that you are looking for.