Are you thinking of adopting or bringing home an old dog?
When people think about adopting a dog, they often go for puppies. While puppies are great for beginner dog owners and families, many overlook adopting. Adopting is a great alternative to shopping as it helps stray and homeless animals.
While people may believe puppies are easier to wrangle, older dogs can be a great addition to the family. Training your dog, however, can be a challenge if you’re not used to older dogs.
If you want to teach your old dog some new tricks, you’re in the right place. This article covers some crucial tips for training your dog. Read on to find out more.
1. Remove Bad Habits
The first thing you need to address when training your dog is bad behavior. Older dogs may have picked up some negative habits or may not have been potty-trained. Some dogs may bark at the front door or chew your belongings.
Many adopted dogs with bad habits may have learned these habits from a previous home. Their past owners may have failed to teach them boundaries while living in a home.
Before training your dog to do anything else, help them unlearn these bad habits. Your dog needs to understand that there are boundaries that exist within your home. Redirect bad behavior into positive action with treats and alternative activity.
2. Go Back to Basics
It may be tempting to skip the simple commands and move on to more exciting tricks. However, it’s best to start with simple and basic commands when training your dog. This includes commands like sit, stay, come, and place.
This will serve as the foundation of your dog’s boundaries in your home. Once your dog has mastered these commands, you may then move on to more complex tricks.
To train an older dog, use the same steps when training a puppy. Some tricks may require more time to learn before you move on to the next command.
3. Give Your Dog Some Affection
While older dogs are always ready to learn and please their owners, you shouldn’t make everything about training. It’s crucial to show your dog the love and affection they deserve. Bond with your dog in a low-impact environment with low expectations.
It’s also crucial to reward your dog with affection during training. This serves as positive reinforcement. Most dog owners start with dog treats, toys, or praise.
Each dog may have a different motivator, so determine which one helps your dog learn. Ensure never to reward bad behavior as this will only confuse your dog.
4. Don’t Forget How Old Your Dog Is
While your senior dog may be as eager as a puppy, they may not be as spry. Some tricks can be too difficult, tiring, or even too painful to do. A dog with hip problems may find it hard to crawl across the ground.
If your dog moves to obey the command then stops, they might be in pain. Other senior dogs may get tired faster and want to rest. It’s crucial to notice these signs, so you know when to stop.
Other senior dogs may have other medical limitations that may hinder their training. This includes physical conditions like hearing or vision issues. If your dog has hearing problems, it may respond better to gestures.
5. Be Patient
Aside from physical limitations, senior dogs may be slower at picking up new lessons. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t want to learn. It’s vital to be patient and remain positive when training an older dog.
Your dog needs time to catch up to all the new lessons. You may need to repeat a lesson several times before it sticks to your dog’s memory.
If you’re bringing home a senior dog for the first time, put off training for the first few days or weeks. Allow them some time to get used to their new home before you begin training.
This gives them some room to adapt to you and the new environment. Once they feel more comfortable with you, they may respond to training better.
6. Consider an Obedience Class
If it’s your first time training a dog, consider enrolling your dog in an obedience class. Training is crucial to a dog’s health, regardless of heir age. It also serves as a great way to bond with your dog.
However, if you do not see much progress, an obedience class can help. This gives you and your dog a more controlled and professional environment to work with. The instructor may be able to provide crucial tips for dog training at home.
You can enroll senior dogs into a weekly or biweekly class on top of your regular training at home. Many training centers offer specialized classes for senior dogs.
7. Let Your Dog Socialize
When bringing an older dog into a new home, it’s crucial to allow them to socialize. The ideal time to socialize a puppy is at 16 weeks old. While you may have passed this window, it doesn’t mean that socializing your dog is impossible.
It’s a bad sign when your dog is shy around people and other dogs or when you go out on walks. Some dogs may be too excitable or even fearful and aggressive. If your dog is showing these signs, it’s best to socialize them first.
Introduce new pets, friends, and family members one a time. Use a calm and gentle approach and avoid babying your dog.
If your dog acts up when meeting new people, stay neutral instead of giving it attention. This prevents you from reinforcing your dog’s fear and helps you teach them that they have nothing to fear.
Want to adopt a senior dog? Go here to learn more.
Tips for Training Your Dog
Training your dog, regardless of age, is crucial to your relationship. It serves as a great bonding time and helps you reinforce good habits and behavior. Here are seven dog training tips for senior dogs.
Looking for more tips on how to train your dog? Check out our other blog posts to discover more guides.