How To Teach An Old Dog New Tricks


There is a phrase that everyone knows about that says that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But oh how wrong that statement is. Sure, it may be a little more difficult as they get older, but it doesn’t mean they’re incapable of learning things. Dogs are highly intelligent creatures, this is why so many emergency services use them. They work alongside the police to sniff out illegal substances, while finding people and catching them if they run. Some medical hospitals use them to sniff out cancer in humans, identifying if it’s in the body, and where. And they are even prescribed to people who aren’t able to manage for themselves, whether that be because they’re anxious or depressed, or suffer from a disability which means they are unable to do certain things by themselves due to being blind or deaf. So as you can see, if they weren’t super smart, they would never be doing the line of work that they do.

Dogs are there for us no matter what, that’s what makes them a man’s best friend. They manage to give us a new found confidence that we may have thought we lost. They stand by our side through the thick and thin. They make us laugh when we feel like crying. And they encourage us to be a better person.

So what about when it comes to teaching them things later on in life?

Here’s how you can ensure that you do it correctly.

Make sure they’re healthy.

If you have a dog that isn’t in full health whether that be due to an ear infection or worms, you can’t expect them to give you their full attention because they are already preoccupied with other niggling issues. Take fleas, for example, these are a very common nuisance that gets into your pups fur and breeds and breeds until they are covered in the little things. They then bite and feed on their blood, which becomes extremely irritating for your dog causing them to scratch, so much so that they end up pulling out patches of fur. In order to control this and kill off any eggs and crawlers, you’ll need Advecta that is made specifically to treat these horrible pests. Once you know that your dog is well, then you can start your training.


Make sure you’re patient.

You need to ensure that you are always calm and relaxed when going to start part of your training. There are times where you may think that you’re making progress, and then for some reason, your dog will do something wrong or forget, and you will feel like you’re taking a step back. However frustrating this may be, you need to keep your composure and not take it out on your pup. You need to know that they’re trying their best, and we all make mistakes. Patience is your best friend here, and your dog will pick up on it straight away. If you start to get annoyed, then stop the process, because your dog will sense the shift in your energy and will become anxious which will just make things worse.


Make sure it’s short.

When your dog is very young, you can train them for quite a long time before they get disinterested and you have to stop. But when they’re older, they will be a little slower, both physically and possibly mentally, so you shouldn’t push them too much otherwise it will all become a waste of time. Choose one command or trick, and focus on repeating that for five minutes. Do this once or twice a day, every day, until the command has been understood and they know what they’re doing. Then and only then, should you move onto the next things.


Make sure you praise them.

Every dog needs to be praised when they do something you’re happy about, otherwise they will never know when they’ve done something right. You need to give them a big fuss and cuddle and be vocal about it. They know when you’re pleased because your voice is in a higher pitch and it sounds playful, as a pose to being monotone like when you’re putting out commands. As well as doing this, you should always have a treat at hand. It can be anything as long as you know they really like them. Make sure you only give them a little bit though because the idea is to leave them wanting more. Then if there is any left over at the end you can give them to your dog and end the session.


Make sure the environment is empty.

If you’re going to be using a room in your home for training, like the living room, for example, make sure the area is clean and there are no distractions lying around like toys. If your dog is surrounded by other things that they like to do or play with, then they will find it very difficult to focus, even when they really want to. So if you know there is too much going on, move somewhere else. You also want to make sure that there are no noises coming from the tv or radio that can intervene with your dog’s listening. So turn everything off, clean up all the clutter, and make yourself the only thing of interest to your pup.
And there you have it. If you make an effort to follow all of these rules, then your older companion should be learning new things within no time. It may not happen overnight – but it might! There is no reason that they shouldn’t be able to pick up something new straight away if they want to. It’s just down to you to ensure that you go about it the right way. Make it fun and interesting. Believe it or not – dogs like to learn – it’s enjoyable for them, especially because they have your undivided attention during the process, and that’s what most of your furry friends pine after.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.


My name is Richie and I am a 39 year old father of two, a daughter and son. I am married to a beautiful woman named Destiny. She is the foundation of our family, and without her, none of this would be possible. During the day I work as a network security administrator for a local school district. At night I can be found illustrating books, working on websites, or creating music, but more than likely though I am spending time with my kids.

2 thoughts to “How To Teach An Old Dog New Tricks”

  1. Great advice. The funny thing is that everything you shared here about teaching a dog can easily apply to children as well. Patience, less distractions, praise. I know you meant it for pets. I also know children and pets are not to be compared in any way, it just made me think of a recent situation I viewed. As I read I was thinking about a lady I saw recently getting frustrated in a store trying to have a teachable moment with her child. He was so distracted, her impatient. Your advice would have helped her greatly.
    Thank you for sharing even though I read it in a completely different way.

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