How do you get your older dog to follow you? Obedience training for older dogs is difficult, as senior dogs don’t have the same memory retention as younger pets. There are several myths regarding training older dogs, and it’s time to deconstruct some of them.
MYTH: A puppy has to be at least six months old to be trained.
REALITY: This myth originated from “old school” training where heavy collar corrections were used and therefore it was preferred that a dog be at least old enough to withstand wearing the collar and dealing with the pressure of collar corrections and punishment during training sessions. With today’s modern methods of training based on positive reinforcement and cooperation with your dog, there is no reason you can’t start working with your puppy as soon as you can! A puppy starts learning the moment they are able to observe and relate to their environment. Unlike an adult dog, a puppy may have a shorter attention span and this will require more patience when teaching behaviors, but there is no reason your puppy can’t start learning right away, and the sooner you start, the quicker your puppy will learn. It’s important to socialize your puppy as soon as possible as well to expose him to new people and things so he’ll grow up to be a behaviorally healthy and confident adult dog. (Read more here)
Another myth is that positive reinforcement won’t work for older or stubborn or larger dogs. Well, guess what? Positive reinforcement is in fact used to tame larger predators like tigers and killer whales, so there’s no reason why it won’t work on unconventional dogs at all. In fact, aversive training methods will only make your older dog more aggressive or fearful.
There’s a myth going around that old dogs can’t learn new tricks, but the reality is that dogs can be trained at whatever age they are in. Although older dogs might take a while to get trained, doing so is easier in a way since they are calmer and have better focus.
If your dog is urinating in the house, it doesn’t mean that your buddy’s angry with you. In fact, it can be caused by a variety of factors. One of them is that they may not be fully house trained yet. Another reason might be old age; it might be time to put your dog on diapers.
Also a misconception is that dogs don’t like playing. It’s not true, since your older dogs are very much playful! You can play tug of war with them, or use food in order for them to learn quickly. On that note, food is just as effective when training older dogs as training puppies.
These are only some of the misconceptions about older dogs. There’s obviously a lot of wrong things being said about these senior pet, and it’s about time to clear out this confusion.