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Busting The Myth - Older Dogs Cannot Be Trained

28 May 2014 | by Natasha Nundy | Posted in: Wag Wiki

How many times have you heard people say that older dogs cannot be trained?  Multiple times right?  If you are one of those who has fallen victim to this belief then what will be your take on those of us who adopt abandoned pets from shelters and kennels and give them a loving home? It is a not a mammoth task that I have bestowed on myself if you ask. Yes, I agree that I will require a little effort but then what job in this world can be achieved without any effort.  I do this for my own selfish reasons, I love the camaraderie that my pets bring to my home.

I have an experience in keeping both puppies as well as adult dogs and let me clarify this from a first-hand experience that there is no such thing that older dogs cannot be trained.  In fact in the case of shelter or kennel dogs it is almost like training puppy, you have to start from scratch.

Yes, I would agree that when you get an adult dog home the training has to be a little more persistence and will require consistency and patience from your end. You have to give it to them that this is a new environment for them. If you have adopted an older dog then it might be possible that he was abandoned by his previous owners or has a troubled past. It is very important to understand that he will require a little more time to break his previous pattern and adapt to the new regime. This is more of a rehabilitation than training.

Training an older dog is not only a case for adopted dogs but there can be times when you would realise the importance to train your dog after a year or two of getting them home.  I would recommend starting with basic training; the most important would be toilet training. It is important to teach your dog not to soil your house. You can take help of various toilet training aids available in the market that will not only ensure ease but will make it easy for your pet to adapt to the new regime. After all your pet does not know which the correct place to soil is, you would have to train him to go outside the premises of your house or if you want a specific area can be designated within the house.

It is important to know that like humans every dog is different. Just like every individual human your dog also has its individual temperament and personality, which is the decisive factor through, which we know whether they can be trained or not. There will be numerous trainers who will tell you stories of some Labradors also that are stubborn and are not ready to learn anything. So does this make the breed stubborn? No, it is actually the lack of persistence with the said trainer. . So remember that when it is the same with a puppy and an adult dog. The golden rule that you have to remember is that it is never too late to train a dog.

You must have also heard that you should not train a puppy before he or she is of six months of age, this also is not true in the present world, this was said when traditional training methods were used such as heavy collars for corrections and your puppy needed to be old enough to wear these collars. Whether you get a puppy or dog just remember one thing that training should start right from the day your pet comes into your home.

Positive reinforcement works on every dog, you just have to develop an appropriate training model for your dog, which should preferably include rewards in the form of food, praise or play. This will ensure that your pet knows that you are happy with his or her behavior and will push him or her to do better. You would be surprised it might be easier to train your adult dog than the small puppy.

My aim with this small write up was not to urge you adopt an older dog or not take a puppy into your home. My sole aim was to help you to not restrain yourself from helping a  dog just because you think that he will not be able to adapt to the house and will be difficult to train. A pet whether an adult dog or puppy can always bring a smile on your face.

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