Many people believe that once a dog reaches a certain age, there’s no hope as far as training goes. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
If your furry friend has developed behavioural issues in their old age or you’ve adopted a senior pooch presenting training problems, it isn’t too late to reintroduce some training to get them back on track.
After all, dogs love to learn. No matter their age.
But how do you approach training a senior dog? Our experts at Pet Shop Online share our top tips to get you started.
Pay a visit to your vet
Before you begin your training sessions, you should make an appointment with your vet.
Often, behavioural issues in older dogs, sadly, might be rooted in pain or discomfort. So it’s always a good idea to check that everything is as it should be and to get them the treatment they need if they are suffering.
A quick trip to the vet will also reveal any physical limitations your canine companion might have, allowing you to plan their training sessions accordingly.
Determine what they already know
If you’ve adopted an older dog, the best place to start is figuring out what they already know. And you should be able to tell pretty quickly.
In the first few days of bringing them home, keep an eye on their bathroom habits, looking for cues they might be using to let you know they need to go outside.
Also, check how well they respond to basic sit, stay, and paw commands, and keep track of what they remember – deciding new things to teach them from there.
Develop a training schedule
Of course, if you’ve raised your dog from being a puppy right through to adulthood, you’ll already have set meal and toilet times that your dog is familiar with.
However, if you’ve rescued an older dog from a shelter, they’ll need to get used to a new schedule, so try to feed them and take them out to use the bathroom at the same time each day.
You should also pencil in your training sessions for the same time each day, so they know what to expect and when.
Having a solid routine will help concepts much easier to understand for your pooch.
Keep training sessions short
The last thing you want to do is overwhelm your furry friend, so it’s always best to keep training sessions as short and sweet as possible.
10-15 minutes every day is more than enough to begin with, and it’s important to ensure that your senior dog gets plenty of rest in between sessions, as they won’t learn much when they’re tired.
When training a dog of any age, patience is key.
Huge changes won’t happen overnight, and it’ll take more than just one training session to get your canine’s behaviour back on track.
However, you might be surprised at how quickly senior dogs actually learn.
Once they catch on that their positive behaviour earns them lots of tasty treats, playtime and cuddles, there's no stopping them!
Need more advice?
Training a senior dog isn’t as hard as you’ve likely made it out to be.
Whether you’re looking for healthy treats for reward-based training, or you need more expert training tips for your senior pooch, we’re always here and more than happy to provide advice and recommendations.