Contrary to popular belief, senior dogs are more amenable to training than younger dogs. Adult dogs have more self-control and only need to have their skills refreshed as they grow older, but how do you teach a senior dog if it’s your first time owning it?
Remember to keep on training your dogs even though they mature. The constant training process keeps their mind sharp and offers mental stimulation and the structure that it needs.
You can teach an old dog new tricks, they say, but we beg to differ. Here are some points to remember before training a senior dog for better obedience:
1. Be Patient and Take Time
If you recently just adopted an adult dog home, allow it some time to adjust. This is especially helpful if it came from a rescue home, as an adult dog may come with its history and become more nervous about its new surroundings. However, even if it feels tense now, let it be.
Allow the adult dog to have its own time to adjust, find its spot, and familiarize itself with its surroundings. Once it’s ready, the dog will soon realize that it’s in a new home and will automatically settle with the family. It may be a challenge to wait for them to adjust, but it sure is worth it.
2. Use a Crate for Housetraining
Never assume that an adult dog is house-trained, especially if it was rescued from its last owner. It’s likely that the dog simply went into its old home without proper training. The best way to train adult dogs into your house rules is by investing in a crate for housetraining. Make sure that the dog crate is large enough to contain your dog comfortably, allow it to stretch, and move around.
Introduce the dog to the concept of crates to ensure that it will not cause the animal’s anxiety. Entice the dog by offering food. Keep it in the enclosure while providing it with food and water. Make its stay with dog blankets or chew toys. Let the dog out when it seems like it’s about to pee or poop. However, never use the crate as a punishment for the dog.
3. Take Obedience Classes
Adult dogs are capable of learning new things and skills. Regardless of whether they were taught in the past, senior dogs would benefit from knowing how to respond to basic commands such as walking on a loose leash and lying down. An obedience class should be a great place to start work on its training.
Obedience classes are great venues to expose your dogs to other dogs and people. The classes make them more comfortable around new figures to help them develop their social skills. It is also an excellent opportunity to identify how senior dogs react to know which aspects to work on.
4. Implement the “My House, My Rules” Strategy
Start teaching adult dogs the rules of the house as soon as possible. Adult dogs from other households may carry over the things they’re used to from their past homes. However, if you have certain restrictions at home, it’s best to start them right away with your rules as soon as they enter the house.
As the owner, you can utilize a reward system to make the dogs think they get something in return from being obedient.
5. Keep the Training Positive
The process of training senior dogs may vary per animal. Each dog comes with its baggage. Some were at the brink of death, while others we left to die. Remember to keep the approach to training possible.
Senior dogs can be just as loving as younger dogs. They still need care and attention just like the others. However, it takes much love, maintenance, and trust to bring back their old state. Maintain a positive environment in training them to let them know that you are doing it for them.
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