Older Dogs Can Be Trained Too
Old dogs CAN learn bad behaviors—but they can also learn new tricks!
So many people who call me to discuss their older dog’s behavioral problems worry that training simply won’t work now that their dog is no longer a young puppy. But no dog is ever hopeless and older dogs benefit from training just like their younger counterparts.
The biggest difference between training younger dogs and older dogs is being extra cautious and ensuring the behavioral problem doesn’t stem from a health problem. For example, arthritis could be behind a dog’s sudden aggressiveness or incontinence could be behind a dog’s issues with housebreaking. I always work with a vet to make sure an older dog is free from health problems before beginning any training program.
People are often puzzled by their older dog’s bad behavior, but just like people dogs often get more set in their ways as they get older. If an owner has been lax about imposing boundaries and routines with their dog, it often means that older dogs pick up and get used to bad behaviors or doing things the wrong way. Sometimes, older dogs are simply reacting to big life changes, such as children leaving the home, a move, or a new pet.
For example, recently I worked with a family whose older dog had started to get territorial about its toys and food. Through in-home training, I worked with the owner to establish new routines around food and playtime. We also worked on some basic obedience to improve the dog’s household manners and help the owner build a better relationship with their dog. I also recently worked with a family who adopted a hyperactive older dog. The dog had been left at the shelter for ages because people didn’t think he’d be trainable, but by creating a consistent routine, teaching him basic obedience, and leash training him so he would get plenty of exercise, the dog was able to quickly adapt to life with his new family.
Whether you have always had problems with your dog’s behavior, have an older dog who has developed a new issue, or just have an older dog that’s new to you, I can help! Contact me at 800.649.7297 or via email to tell me more about your dog’s behavioral problem and set up your in-home consultation.