We can’t deny that we love our dogs and we appreciate all of the joy that they bring into our lives.
But, let’s face it, getting them trained can be a bit of a chore. You might have heard the saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” but that saying couldn’t be more incorrect.
You can train a dog at any age. Older dogs just take a little longer and need a bit more patience.
Training a young puppy is like having a clean slate to work with. You can start from scratch and work your way up.
With an older dog though, you might have to help them unlearn bad habits before teaching them new ones.
If you’ve recently added a new, older dog to your family, and you find yourself wondering what to do and where to begin, then you’ve come to the right article.
Why Train Your Dog?
Let’s begin by shedding some light on why it’s so important to train your dog. The number one reason is really so that you and your dog can co-exist happily.
If your dog isn’t socialized and doesn’t get along with other people, having friends or family over could become very stressful.
If your dog eliminates in the house, it can create a lot of unpleasant messes. If your dog chews up your best pair of work shoes, it’s inevitably going to lead to some upset.
So, teaching your dog what they should and shouldn’t do, will help to create a harmonious environment for you both.
Another reason that training is healthy is that the experiences will help you to bond with them, and them to you. Your dog will want to please you.
They live for belly rubs and treats, so creating opportunities for them to learn will develop some really great bonding between you both.
It’s also healthy for your dog to learn new things.
Much like a child learns in school, your dog will learn from you. Teaching your dog will help to keep them sharp and increase their brain health.
Adult rescues dogs will either come from horrible environments or wonderful ones. In either case, the dog is going to need a lot of patience and love in order to feel safe and adjust to all of the newnesses.
Unlike a young puppy, your older dog may have already learned some behavioral patterns that aren’t going to harmonize with your home.
Perhaps your older dog has never been trained to do its business outside. Maybe it’s never socialized with another animal before. This can lead to some challenges when it comes to training.
Dogs don’t exactly learn the way that humans do. They need a lot of practice, a lot of patience, and you will need to understand that training an older dog is going to take time.
You may run into some difficult obstacles, and it’s understandable to feel frustrated sometimes.
But don’t get discouraged. It might be a little difficult to train an older dog, but it’s not impossible.
Let’s jump into potty training first. This is probably one of the first things you want to start training on. Nobody wants to clean up messes all day long. The first thing you want to keep in mind is sticking to a regular feeding schedule.
Most dogs will need to eliminate a few minutes after a meal, so feeding them around the same time of day will mean they should need to go around the same time of the day too.
Praise Your Dog To Encourage Him
This will make it easier to plan when your dog will eliminate and you can make sure to take them outside.
When your dog does eliminate outside, make sure to take a minute and praise your dog for doing its business where it should. This will show your dog that you are happy with its actions.
You could give them a little treat to show them your appreciation or give them a good scratch behind the ears. Your dog will want to please you, so showing your dog when you are pleased is very important.
Now, if you catch your dog eliminating inside the house, simply clap your hands loudly.
Yelling at them will simply induce fear or intimidation and there is a very good chance that they won’t understand why you are even mad. Simply clap your hands loudly. This should jolt the dog, just a little bit.
This jolt should cause them to stop eliminating, mid-cycle. Then, you should leash them up really quickly, take them outside immediately, and try to get them to finish their business outside.
Don’t forget to praise them when they do. Try to keep in mind that your dog may take a while to understand what you are trying to teach it.
An older dog who has never had any previous training might struggle to grasp what you are trying to do with them. It’s going to take some patience.
Even with your best attempts, there will still be accidents, and that is ok.
Sticking to meal schedules, taking them out every couple of hours, and lots of praise when they go successfully, will start to create a ritual with your dog and they’ll eventually catch on.
Another important part of training an older dog is making sure that it gets properly socialized. Having an aggressive or terrified dog can cause a lot of problems.
Is Your Dog Aggressive?
The last thing you want is your dog becoming aggressive, biting someone, or simply being too scared to even be in the same room with you and your guests.
You want your dog to be comfortable around other people and the best way to do that is with safe practice.
If you introduce your dog to people, you will want to keep a muzzle on your dog, until you become comfortable enough to trust that he will be good around other people.
The best way to do this is by introducing your dog to your friends and family. It is best to introduce your dog to one person at a time. Too many could be overwhelming and scary for your dog.
If your dog struggles to get comfortable around others or gets aggressive, then you’ll want to introduce your dog slower, calmer, and give them a chance to acclimate to the other person.
Going for frequent walks, letting them explore their surroundings are a great way to get your dog curious about the outside world. These can be useful tools when trying to socialize your dog.
If all they ever know is the inside of your house, then that is all they will ever feel comfortable with.
So, let them explore and let them meet new people. If time and patience still doesn’t seem to help, then get in touch with a dog training program.
They can put your dog through courses, much like a school, and it can help them to become more at ease around people and other animals too.
Dogs are natural chewers, so it’s likely that a new dog will end up chewing your shoes, pillows, clothes, or just about anything else you leave laying around or near its grasp.
It might be frustrating having your belongings get mangled by your dog’s jaws, but this is another aspect of the training that you’re going to need to work on.
Much like the potty training, clap your hands loudly when you spot your dog chewing on something that they shouldn’t be chewing on. This should make them stop and wonder what’s going on.
That is when you take the object away from them and replace it with something that they CAN chew.
Most grocery stores and pet stores have an array of bones and toys that are meant to be chewed. A lot of the toys even have flavors to entice them to chew it.
Present these items to them personally and praise them when they chew on these things. With some reputation and some patience, they’ll soon learn what they can and can’t chew.
Older dogs can learn new things, it just takes a little extra time and a bit more patience.
You might find it a bit challenging, but the love and happiness your four-legged fur baby will bring you are bound to make every moment of it, worth the effort.