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Old dogs can’t learn new tricks - Myth BUSTED

Of course an older dog can learn new things it may just take them a little longer. But it is important to keep those minds active and working throughout their life to stave off certain nasty diseases like Canine dementia.

Poor health and age limitations can be challenging for both his physical and mental condition. The best thing to do before starting with this new challenge is a quick check at the vet. Once you’ve done that and your buddy is fit for training sessions, you can start.

A combination of people, patience, and reward training, commonly known as positive reinforcement, is a recipe that has been shown to be effective. Dog treats are used in this technique to control the dog's behaviour and encourage him to pick up new skills. Remember that an older dog can maintain focus for extended periods of time. As a result, learning new tricks for them may occasionally be simpler than teaching a puppy.

Your dog will get easily tired, so be aware of signs of exhaustion. These can include:

  • Sniffing the ground

  • Dropped ears

  • Excessive Licking

  • Yawning a lot

  • Boredom

It is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Go through this checklist to make sure you start off on the right foot:

  1. Build trust and a strong friendship with your dog

  2. Take time to really know your furry friend well

  3. Recognise and respect your dog’s’ limits

  4. Keep training sessions short (10-30mins max at a time)

  5. Never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement

  6. Use quality dog treats and also compliment your dog a lot, to guide and motivate him towards a certain behavior. After a while, you can use fewer treats and focus more on praising him instead of luring.

  7. Start with a single trick at a time; dogs can get confused by too many different commands

  8. Associate new places, people, toys with learning a new trick. Then once his usual environment changes, he will be more receptive to learning new things.

  9. Remember that dog training is a commitment you make, so offer time and be consistent.

  10. Teaching an old dog new tricks is possible, but won’t happen overnight. Research says it takes up to 4 weeks for an old dog to learn new things, so patience cannot be over stressed.

Most importantly, don't force your dog to perform any tricks solely to amuse you or your friends. This exercise should be enjoyable for him as well and serve as a chance to connect. This bonding activity of teaching your dog new skills will be worthwhile if he is physically capable of participating in a variety of physical activities. Remember to get to know your dog first, then look at his age and health restrictions, and most importantly, show him that you still care about him!

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