You’ve heard it plenty of times before – old dogs can’t learn new tricks. This expression is used, of course, to talk about humans who just can’t seem to change or learn new life skills. However, the expression is also rooted in the belief that as dogs age, they just can’t (or won’t) learn new behaviors.
If you ask our Dog Training Now trainers if old dogs can learn new tricks, you will be met with plenty of stories that prove that it certainly is possible. “Old dogs can certainly learn new tricks,” says Trainer Judy. “It just takes a little extra practice and motivation to get them used to their new expectations and routine.”
At Dog Training Now, we’ve seen dogs of all ages learn new tricks, and it all comes down to practice, practice, practice. Dogs of any age, even senior dogs, can learn commands like Sit, Stay, Down, and Place. These commands can not only make the family home a much calmer environment, the new commands can even keep dogs from doing other unwanted behavior like excess barking or chewing. “When dogs have a command to focus on,” says Judy, “it keeps their brain busy on the command, which means they won’t be barking at the people that walk by the front of the house.” Commands keep old dogs occupied and concentrating, which is good for the whole home.
Beyond learning commands for the home, senior dogs can certainly learn leash manners. By learning how to walk with a leash – without pulling or lunging at other passersby – your senior dog can now go on walks without the owners being nervous or cutting the outing short. “We see it all the time,” continues Judy. “Owners of older dogs who haven’t been on a good walk in years because of bad leash behavior, are suddenly excellent walkers. The dog gets healthier thanks to regular walks, and the owners can’t believe the better bond they have with their dog now that they are walking partners.”
Do you have an old dog that seems set in his ways? Perhaps both of you need a bit of guidance and practice – along with a jumpstart in the right direction – from the Dog Training Now team. You’ll never know the thrill of seeing your old and stubborn dog learning something new that will make your relationship even better. Let’s get started on proving the expression wrong by teaching your old dogs some new tricks.