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How to teach an old dog new tricks
The old adage "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" may discourage some pet owners who have senior dogs from attempting to curb bad behavior in their older pooches. However, just because this rule may apply to some humans you know doesn't mean it holds water when considering dog training. Many older dogs are capable of learning new skills as well as putting bad habits to bed, provided their owners are willing to put in the time and effort to train them.
No matter if you're training a dog who is 15 weeks old or 15 years old, there are two key components to the process – positive reinforcement, and vocalization. The first is essential, as canines learn best when they receive a reward after successfully completing a task. Use a treat you know your dog loves, like Greenies Dental Treats for Dogs. Be sure to provide one of these snacks to your animal each time they do the right thing – such as eliminating outside or sitting on command. However, canines may act like they deserve a treat even if they don't complete a task, and it's important for pet owners to refrain from rewarding bad or neutral behavior during a training session.
Using vocal commands is important, especially for older dogs. Puppies may be more apt to pick up new words, but older dogs will often be slower on the uptake. Using single word commands – like sit, stay, heel or lay – will be more effective because dogs will be able to associate the sounds of these words with the command they are following. Use a clear voice and firm voice, and try to use the same tone every time.
Older dogs may be reluctant to learn if they are in pain, which is why it's important not to work them too hard, and to make sure they are feeling well before you begin a new training session. Give your pooch their regular pet drugs and flea, tick and heartworm treatments, so they'll be in proper health before training begins. Additionally, if you plan on having your dog exercise during their training, you may want to provide them with glucosamine for dogs.
Your canine will need to rest after a thorough training session, especially if they are older. Once you're done with the lesson, guide them to their deluxe orthopedic dog bed and let them sleep off their tough day of training.
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