The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is just that - a saying. With lots of treats, praise and patience any dog young or old can learn new tricks. More repetition is often required when teaching an older dog something new, but they tend to have a longer attention span and better body control than a puppy which can make things easier. With a few helpful tips and tricks you and Fido will be trick masters in no time.
There are a few different things you should keep in mind when training an older dog, such as any physical limitations they may have. Your dog may not be fully comfortable performing certain tricks, running for a ball, or playing tug of war. As far as toys go for a more mature dog, think about having softer toys available to them if they have had trouble with their teeth. Toys made of rubber or raw bones may be too tough for Fido’s delicate mouth.
Older dogs are more likely to have physical ailments such as arthritis, which can make certain tricks difficult or even painful to perform. Be mindful of this when deciding what tricks to teach your dog. There are a multitude of joint supplements and vitamins you can feed your pet to help combat pain and promote healthy joints. Other options to help promote circulation and ease pain are any type of far infrared blankets or mats. If you notice Fido is having a difficult time, work on simple tricks such as sit, down, paw, speak or stay. These aren’t too physically demanding, but still fun and rewarding to learn.
Other fun things you can work on with an older dog is training their nose. Not only is this fun for them, but it helps to keep their brains active too. All you need for this is a box, bowl or even your whole house and a few treats. Hide a few treats under a little box and have your dog sniff out their yummy reward, or hide treats around your home. Again, this isn’t physically taxing on their body, but keeps an older dog sharp.
Your senior pet will adore the time you spend with them teaching them new things, keeping their limitations in mind and with your patience in tow.