Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks – Dog Training Burlington Ontario
When I first started my professional dog training here in Burlington, Ontario, I met and trained many dogs of all backgrounds. The diversity of breeds, ages, sizes, behavior problems, etc., was vast, and it taught me a lot about how society holds many misconceptions about dogs. The breed bias is a constant and unfortunately familiar problem, where some dogs are written off as “aggressive” simply due to their genetics. While less problematic, I have also noticed that the age of the dog plays a big role in how owners approach training, both in positive and negative ways.
I am always thrilled with someone gets a puppy or adopts a new dog, and immediately want to begin training with them. With puppies, the owner is giving themselves and their new fur baby a head start on behavioral progress and success. I’ve gotten many dogs that are not puppies anymore, but are still quite young and are still trying to do the right thing for themselves and their owners.
Now, there are many people that assume that there comes a time where training is no longer possible. This mindset usually applies to older dogs, who are slowing down and not as young. But it’s surprising how some people will even believe that a dog past the age of four will not be able to succeed in any training. I am positive that many of these owners follow the quote, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
To me, this saying is completely untrue and harms the future for many dogs that might be older, but are still absolutely capable to learning how to be a balanced, well-behaved pup.
While I will always consider any health issues or disabilities from either a young or an old dog, this still has very little to do with age. Sure, there’s a higher risk of an older dog being less healthy than a puppy, and maybe the older dog will learn things slower than a younger dog. But they still can learn! It is not impossible for a dog, be it age one or age ten, to learn new tricks! Every dog is different and we must always be consistent and work with the dog’s pace. This is why I customize many of my training plans for clients, so that it is suited to their needs, problems, personalities, and training goals.
To say an old dog cannot learn a new trick or behavior, is like saying your grandmother can’t learn a new fact or hum a new song that she heard on the radio. Sure, maybe she might take a little longer to remember the words of the chorus, but she still can, and with determination and support, she will! If she can learn in her age how to recite lyrics to the newest Top 40 hit, then your older dog can learn how to “Come” when called, or to walk well on the leash, or even to stop showing aggression of any kind!
Change is always possible here at Maple Leaf Dog Training! If you need to enroll your dog, young or old, in one of my many training programs, contact me at 800-649-7297!