Rather than buy a new puppy, many responsible new dog owners re-home a dog from a shelter.
Often, they quickly realize that their new dog hasn't been properly trained.
They then ask themselves "Can I teach an old dog new tricks?" In other words is my dog too old to train.
The answer to this question is NO. Your dog is not too old to train.
No dog is ever too old to be trained and there is no such thing as an un-trainable dog.
The process may take a bit longer, but you will get there in the end.
The Benefits Of Training Your Dog
The biggest benefit of training your dog is that he becomes more enjoyable to live with. This is especially true if he has never been house-trained.
Training involves physical and mental stimulation – this leads to a healthier dog.
Training will deepen the bond between you and your dog.
It makes the dog easier to manage. It lessens the chances of you ever having to take the dog back to the shelter.
Training is really just a way of opening up a communication channel with your dog.
Be patient and understanding. Remember, there is no deadline for this. Let the process take as long as it needs. Look back at the progress you have made rather than worry about how far you have to go.
At the end of the training, you will have a dog that is socialized and obedient. If necessary, his behavior will have been modified so that he doesn’t chew your property and confines his potty activities to outdoors.
Socializing an older dog
Socializing your dog means getting your dog used to as many different situations as you can. This means exposing him to a wide variety of sights sounds and smells. You will need to introduce him to as many different dogs as you can. Dogs of different sizes, breeds and temperaments. He should become accustomed to lots of different people in different situations. Your dog should remain calm and be paying attention to your instructions under all these varying conditions.
This will take some time and there is no doubt that this part of the training is much easier with puppies. There are even puppy socialization classes which are a great help.
If your dog is reactive to other dogs, a formal training class where he can meet other dogs in a controlled setting could be beneficial.
Obedience Training In Older Dogs
You train an older dog obedience in the same way that you train a younger dog. It will just take a little bit longer. Never punish or yell at your dog. Use positive reinforcement and give praise for effort.
Here are some links to other training articles which may be useful.
Behavior Modification Training
Behavior modification just means replacing an unwanted behavior with a more acceptable behavior.
To do this you have to give your dog a more rewarding choice.
When your dog is displaying the unwanted behavior, interrupt him. Reward any instance of the new behavior and also any approximation of the new behavior.
Your dog won’t take long to learn which alternative brings the greatest reward.