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Is My Dog Too Old To Be Training?

I hear this every day, the statement “my dog is too old to do training” – Wrong! You've no doubt heard the adage, “You can't teach an old dog new tricks.” Well this is false you can there is no age limit on learning. Human don’t stop learning so why should your dog!  Your dog might not be able to jump through hoops of run an agility trial but then can still learn new stuff, and as dog owners we should be investing time into the continuing development of our paw pals.  We need to drop the stigma and start focusing on introducing positive training into older dog’s lives.

If your goal is to change behaviour the dog has been exhibiting for a number of years the challenge will be greater than if you’re simply teaching new behaviour. Changing long-held classically conditioned (emotional) responses is likely to be more challenging than teaching new operantly conditioned responses. But as owners we should be investing this time to improve the bond and work on the behaviours we desire.

How to get started

Start with the basics and build your way up, starting with the following is a good foundation.

  • Reflex to name
  • Sit
  • Down
  • Come
  • Fetch

Start training at home in an environment that has low distraction such as your garden or in the home this will help with focus. Once you have worked on the following at home you can then build up distraction such as practicing in the park or when you have family round.  Below is the dogs learning phases to help illustrate how dogs learn to aid your training journey.

Make sure you have lots of tasty treats to reinforce the behaviours and have fun and enjoy your bonding time!

Whether your dog is 10 months old or 10 years old, it's never too late to start training!

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