TLC Pet Food have FIVE reasons why you need to take the statement ‘You CANNOT teach an old dog new tricks’ with a pinch of salt. Dog training may be trickier with old dogs, but it is neither impossible nor such a nightmare. All you need are all the tricks in [and out of] the book as outlined in this article.
- Give Him His Own Space
This is rather straightforward. Unless your pet has a place of their own then slowly earns the right to be in other spaces in the house, you are bound to have trouble training him as he will be all over the place.
The first few weeks of training, especially if you have a pup or a new dog, it is advisable to leash him and tag him along in the house. Sounds tedious right? I am sorry there’s no easier way out to master your new best friend than keeping him close.
He will learn right from wrong because you will catch him in the act and nudge him to do what is right severally. You will also master his cues for hunger pangs, ‘going’, peeing, playing, etc.
When you two are not tagging along in the house, have him rest or sleep in his crate, and of course, be sure to create time to play or walk outside.
- Give Him a Good Name
“What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” William W. Shakespeare. Wrong when it comes to dogs!
When choosing a name for your dog, keep off the mouthful ones and try settling on those that ends strongly and is as easy as possible to a dog’s ears e.g. those that end with ‘er’ ‘ck’ ‘ie’.
Once you get the naming right, you will have an easy time calling him to follow the next set of instructions; mostly ‘come’, ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘lie down’.
- Teach Him The First Command
The first command your dog requires to master is responding to ‘Come!’ [to you]. This will keep you out of trouble when you go out with him, plus he’ll associate the word with your position of authority.
‘Come’ will keep you two out of trouble.
- Praise More Punish Less
This is the rule of thumb when it comes to pet training. Train with love, kindness and understanding. Positive reinforcement using treats, toys and words of praise when your pet does something right will go a long way in helping him repeat and retain good habits.
Your pet wants to do what is right. He or she just doesn’t know how—if she is a puppy, or, is having a hard time breaking old habits—if he is an old dog. Training your dog from this point of understanding will make you more patient and persistent, and will yield great results.
If you praise him more, you will automatically punish him less, and he will learn faster.If or when you MUST punish, be sure to correct him first…
- Set Rules and Have a Schedule
Nothing is more confusing to a pet than something being off-limits one moment then the next it’s not;being punished for something one time and then the next they get away with it without you even batting an eye; or ever changing feeding and ‘going’ times.
Inconsistency hampers dog training efforts.Your ‘no’ should be ‘no’ at all times…until [insert your pet’s name] understands he is not allowed on your bed; he has to sleep in his crate, he has to sit in his special chair at the dining table, or has to ‘go’ outside the house and at specified times – maybe when he wakes up, after lunch, when you get back from work, and before he retires to his crate. Schedule. Schedule. Schedule. I can’t insist enough times. Scheduling makes dog training a breeze.
Note: Dogs forget things so fast. If you are to correct him for something, do it soonest possible. I mean within two minutes.
There is no easier way to reinforce a good habit in a dog than reminding or correcting him right there and then.
Learning is key to survival. If someone offered you a chance to learn a trick that would make you more popular, accepted, loved, and valuable, you would grab it, right?
I may not be allowed to speak for your dog but if he is new at home, I know he would appreciate house training, potty training, crate training, behavior training, command training, leash training, new tricks—even if he is old, and some barking control too.
Look at dog training as ‘you giving your dog a chance to sharpen his skills’ and all of these will not call for sacrifice. You will both love it, and it will melt your heart to see him achieve these milestones…
By Lilian Kiliswa