Can You Teach An Old Dog New Tricks?

The saying is probably one of the most widely known there is: you can't teach an old dog new tricks. However, the big question is, is that saying actually true? If you have adopted an old dog from a shelter or have an old dog that you never got the chance to get trained as a puppy, you may be apprehensive about paying for a dog trainer. Yet, old dogs can do well in pet training programs, even though they are often discredited before they are ever enrolled by their owners. Take a look at some of the things you should know about training an old dog. 

Old dogs can be slower to learn, but they can learn. 

Just like an older person, older dogs can be set in their ways. Some of their unruly behaviors can be harder to break, but this doesn't mean that they can't learn anything. Older dogs may be a little harder to teach and instruct because it will take a little while for them to break old habits. Therefore, you can expect that they will need a few more training hours than the average puppy. 

Older dogs may have physical ailments that slow them down. 

One thing that can make older dogs a little harder to train is if they have physical ailments, and many older dogs do. Some more mature dogs may have problems with things like their eyesight or hearing, for instance. If a dog has issues with its eyesight, it may be harder for them to pick up on non-verbal cues, which are a common component in dog training classes. If a dog has issues with mobility, it can also make them more resistant to performing certain actions when asked. When you initially enroll your dog in dog training classes, the trainer will go over any obvious issues that could potentially make the training harder to accomplish. 

Older dogs can sometimes be more eager to please. 

In some situations and with some types of training, older dogs may have an advantage; they can be a little more eager to please. If a dog has spent its years in a home where it gets lots of love and attention, it will strive to get those rewards during training. Puppies or younger dogs who have not yet learned the value of positive attention may be less eager to please a trainer, which can mean the training will take longer.