Is It Ever Too Late To Start Training A Dog?

Bringing a pup into your life is an exciting experience. Whether you get a new puppy or adopt an adult dog, it is important to give it the training it needs to grow a good and healthy dog.

Getting an older dog, compared with getting a new puppy, has its advantages. You get to get away with the things you need to buy for newborn puppies. Also, most often, getting an adult dog saves you the time and financial resources of getting them vaccinated for some initial vaccines and boosters.

However, it has its disadvantages too. Most dog owners face many challenges in training an old dog. Adult dog has already established behaviors as they grow to adulthood. And so, getting an older dog begs the question, “Is It Ever Too Late To Start Training A Dog?”

While it is true that puppies are more receptive and adaptable to training, the notion that adult dogs are unable to learn or change their behaviors is a myth that needs to be dispelled. Dogs, young and adult alike, possess room for improvement and potential for development.

In this blog post, we will explore the ways to train an older dog.

Can you teach old dog new tricks?

When To Start Training A Dog

You should start training your dog the moment you bring him home. It is important to start him early so that he will develop the habit. It will make things easier for him and you too!

If you’ve adopted an adult dog or brought an older dog into your home, the training process may differ slightly.

Puppy Training

Training a puppy or a dog takes a lot of time and effort. Your puppy might initially not obey your commands, but everything gets getting used to.

The first stages of puppy training are more focused on building a relationship with your dog and introducing him to his home environment.

Then comes early socialization. Get your pup familiar with his surroundings. Introduce him to his environment. Slowly transition to getting him accustomed to the dog park, the streets, and other public places.

And comes potty and crate training, obedience training for basic commands, and trick training.

Dog Training

Adult dogs can still learn new things and benefit from training, although it may take more time and patience compared to a young puppy.

Getting a rescue dog would require a detailed training program. Some rescue dogs have suffered traumatic experiences and may suffer from canine PTSD that could affect how they respond to training exercises. Other dogs may even have developed bad habits or destructive behaviors that would be hard to combat.

Begin by focusing on building trust and establishing a routine for your dog’s training. Remember to use positive reinforcement and tailor the training to suit the individual needs and history of your dog.

Pet parents who are having a hard time house training or training their dogs for basic obedience should consult a professional dog trainer. Certified dog trainers can come up with tailored training sessions that would be fitting for your dog.

Teaching other dogs obedience training with positive reinforcement to do away with bad habits

It’s Never Too Late!

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” But this definitely is not true!

You may have failed to train your dog while he was young because you did not find the time to do it, or you knew nothing about training a dog.

You may have gotten an untrained, rescued, or adopted dog. Or, your dog might also have developed some traits over time that you want to get rid of now.

Whatever the reason is for having a dog that still needs training, don’t stress yourself out. Training him even if he is older is still possible. Many older dogs managed to get trained even in their later years of life.

Be assured that it is never too late to start training your dog now.

How Old Is Too Old To Train A Dog

Most pet experts say that a dog is “old” when it reaches the age of 5-6 years old. Some breeds, which generally tend to live longer than other breeds, are considered mature at the age of 6-7 years old.

From that age onwards, your dog can still be taught some dog obedience lessons and new tricks.

But when is it too late to train a dog?

It is never too late to start training an older dog, There are some things, though, that are best taught to your dog while he is young. But this does not mean that you can no longer teach him when he is past his young age. It’s just the process might take longer and be more tedious.

It is not that older dogs are not receptive to new commands. It’s just that, as with humans, some habits are hard to break.

Take, for example, a case of an older dog that has the habit of sleeping in your bed. Training him not to sleep in your bed anymore would take a long time.

First, he has to “unlearn” sleeping in your bed. Then, he has to learn to sleep on a new bed.

So, it’s twice the work and time to train him to sleep in another bed or his own bed.

Of course, senior dogs would also be harder to train due to physical limitations. A senior dog may no longer be interested to spend time learning behavior. They may have deteriorating mental health that gets them easily distracted. These factors can affect how every dog learns and respond to training.

When is it too late to train a dog in his life

Advantages Of Training An Older Dog

Even though training an older dog may take more time or be more tedious, there are actually advantages to training an older dog.

Most older dogs have, in one way or another, learned simple commands over time. They also know what some hand signal means. Having ideas of these make teaching them easier as you really do not have to start at zero.

They also have ideas about what the tone of the dog owner means. Through the years, they have identified what a particular tone wants to convey. Because of this, they pay attention better and are easier to train.

Older dogs are also easier to train because they are more appreciative of your presence. Through experience, they have learned that obeying your commands and abiding by the rules get them rewards.

Older dogs also have many experiences throughout their lifetime that make them easier to train. They understand that not following would get them no rewards or that they will not be praised when they don’t obey.

Benefits Of Training An Older Dog

Training an older dog would definitely benefit you and your dog. This would strengthen the bond between you and your dog and establish trust between you too.

It will improve your relationship with each other and make things easier for both you and your dog as you both establish habits with each other. It likewise would be healthier for you two as you actively do things together.

Is it ever too late to start training a dog

How To Train An Older Dog

The easiest way to train an older dog is through the use of reinforcement. Make your dog learn that he has to do some things to earn a reward. Positive reinforcement is always effective in dog training.

Get your dog engaged in the training session by giving him his favorite treats every time he is well-behaved.

As dogs learn that good behavior gets them treats, they would slowly understand that they should do away with unwanted behavior.

It is important, though, to always remember the limitations of your older dog. Set reasonable expectations on what your dog is capable of or not.

Many dog owners have shared that they find it hard to potty train old dogs. Potty training would indeed be something that old dogs would have a hard time grasping. Depending on your experience with dog training, to teach an old dog to use a potty spot might be too much of a challenge.

If your dog is no longer physically active, don’t expect him to run and catch with you. Also, it is important to take into consideration your dog’s health condition.

Is it too late to train a pup that is not a puppy anymore

It Is Never Too Late!

Training a dog, regardless of its age, can be a rewarding experience for every dog owner. While puppies are easier to train and have the knack to learn, it is not impossible to train an older dog.

Older dogs are just as equally receptive to learning new skills and behaviors with patience and consistency on your part. It’s never too late to embark on this journey of growth and development with your dog.

Older dogs may already have established behaviors you need to understand as you train them. Observe your dog closely and adapt to his behavior with positive reinforcements and proper training techniques.

Remember, each dog is unique and may respond distinctly to various stimuli. What may work for some dogs may not work for others. While others progress in a short time, some may not be too responsive. Again, be consistent with your approach and stay patient with training your dog.

If you’re running out of patience, seek professional help. A dog trainer or pet behavior specialist would be able to provide a tailored solution to training your dog. With the right training method, you will get a well-trained dog in no time.