Never Too Old, Never Too Late: Training Older Dogs
Do you have a dog with behavior issues and you’re feeling trapped? Training can help get your dog on the right path, and give you your life back? It doesn’t matter what the problem is, or even what age, size, or breed your dog is…I can help!
I’ve had many people, with a worried look, ask, “Is it too late for him?” They are referring to their dog who is older, and their ages can range from 2 to even 15 years old. Whether your dog is a young puppy, a mature adult, or in their geriatric years, a dog is still capable of learning and adopting new habits! If a dog is dealing with some mental or physical disabilities, than these will be taken into consideration when formulating a training protocol. But age itself is not a handicap, and some older dogs can learn just as quickly, and sometimes faster, than a puppy or younger dog!
“But won’t an older dog be more set in their ways?”
Sure, it’s possible that your matured dog might be more hesitant to drop the habits they’ve been practicing for years. But it’s not impossible for them to learn it, just as long as we remain consistent, patient, and work with the dog’s pace! If your dog has been demonstrating a bad habit for many years, then we owe them some patience, as we’ve allowed them to learn and adopt this bad habit for a big chunk of their life! But saying an aged dog cannot learn something new is like saying your grandmother can’t learn a new skill or develop a new habit. Don’t write off a dog because of their age, give them a chance to start over, because it’s never too late to change their life for the better!
“Even if it’s an issue like separation anxiety or aggression?”
You bet! I’ve worked with many dogs of varying ages that have dealt with these problems, and it can be overcome! For both separation anxiety and aggression, we need to evaluate the dog’s confidence and the leadership in their lives. If their confidence levels get a boost, then that can help them becomes less co-dependent and attached to their owner. It can also help dogs that are suffering from fear aggression or resource guarding. When it comes to leadership, it is important for whatever issue, that the owner is enforcing boundaries and establishing themselves as a consistent leader. Dogs are pack animals, and if no one is filling that leadership role, then that could cause more fear and anxiety within the dog. Or your dog will take that leadership role for themselves and that could lead to more excessive or inappropriate behaviors.
If a dog has been aggressive or anxious for many years, it might take some time and serious effort to completely combat these issues, but there is still hope and change is always possible! Rather than let your dog live out the rest of their lives in anxiety, guide them and get them the help they need! If their problems can be addressed, you as the owner will feel less stressed, and your dog will pick up on that and it will encourage their behavioral progress as well!
“How do I start working with my older dog?”
Set them up for success and show consistency with your communication! If you need professional help to get your dog on the right path to behavioral growth, then call us at 800-649-7297!