Teach an old dog new tricks!

Posted 07/11/2018

You can teach an old dog new tricks! And here's how... 

Teaching an old dog new tricks is great for mental stimulation and to encourage them to have fun, even in their twilight years.

Step 1. Make sure you allocate time and have a lot of patience!

Training takes repetition and practice, after all, you and your dog speak completely different languages, so it's important that they can understand what you want them to do. The advantage with an older dog is that they have a longer attention span than their puppy counter-parts.  With any age dog, consider doing any training regularly and in relatively short bursts and keep it fun and enjoyable.

Step 2. Keep your expectations realistic

Older dogs may have health impediments such as loss of hearing and sight, so keep your new tricks sensible for their level of fitness and health.  If you have any concerns, contact your vet.

Remember to be quick to praise good behaviour and to ignore bad habits. You should never tell your dog off for doing something that is wrong as this can cause confusion and stop the activity from being fun. 

Step 3. Get some yummy treats

Invest in some good quality treats to grab their attention. Proper motivation and positive reinforcement is important. Naturediet dog treats are a perfect training companion - they are moist and meaty and made with our signature responsibility sourced ingredients.

Here are some suggestions for things that you could try

  • Balance
    Balance is a great trick. You could place a ladder on the floor and get your dog to walk in between, or even on each rung
  • Touch
    Hand targetting - get your dog to touch your hand and then a touch stick. This can be a really basic trick, but can be developed to more complex commands such as roll over, or play dead
  • Put your toys away
    This keeps the house tidy, why would you not want to teach your dog to tidy up.  This is a development of 3 commands 'take it', 'bring it' and 'drop it' 

Don't forget - keep sessions short, positive reward is vital and always end on a positive note.

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