Back to School: Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks
As summer comes to an end and temperatures begin to drop, it is time to get the family ready to go back to school, including your furry friend! Don’t let dog clichés prevent you from teaching your old dog new tricks this fall. Reward training (with a little help from yummy Evolve treats) will help your pup learn positive behaviors!
When it comes to training an older dog, you only need two things:
- Yummy treats (We recommend Evolve Grain-Free Oven-Baked Dog Biscuits!)
- Patience, patience, patience!
Consistently rewarding your dog with their favorite small treat for good behavior after correctly completing a command is key to success. However, be sure to reward your dog with praise before delivering the treat. Eventually, your dog will obey commands for praise alone.
Along with many treats, you must be equipped with a lot of patience. No matter their age, training a pup is a time commitment. Expressing frustration with the process will not improve your dog’s understanding of the commands, and will possibly lead to setbacks during the training process.
While you can teach an old dog new skills, you may not be able to teach them every trick in the book. Just like people, dogs face different physical limitations as they age. Older dogs often experience joint and arthritis issues, so it might be important to avoid tricks that involve jumping.
In addition to physical limitations, dogs can also experience mental limitations, such as cognitive dysfunction. Understanding your dog and their needs should always be a priority.
Begin with the Basics
Although your dog is mature, it is important to build a strong foundation of tricks and behaviors before moving towards difficult commands. Teaching an older dog to sit, shake, or lay down is the first step towards success.
Short and Sweet
Although older dogs have longer attention spans, they do not have strong endurance and stamina like puppies, and they will tire easily. Make sure you are aware of your dog’s signs of exhaustion, such as yawning, excessive lip licking, and drooping ears, and give them frequent breaks. Training sessions should be short and sweet, with love and patience.
With dedication, love, and lots of yummy treats, your older pup should have no problem picking up some new tricks. The best part? You get to bond with your favorite furry friend!