Most people are of the view that it is impossible to teach new tricks to old dogs… or anything else besides tricks either! But it’s simply not true. Older dogs can learn just as much as younger dogs. Sure, in some cases it may take them more time than the pups, but old dogs can still make excellent students.
In this article, we’ll take a look at five things you can teach your senior dog. You can practice these at home and even eventually use it as a business finance opportunity by opening a small dog training academy.
Touch training is one of the most natural things you can teach dogs of all ages and breeds. The primary purpose of touch is to demonstrate to them that the approaching object or something lying in front of the dog is not dangerous and therefore does not require them to act negatively.
The process is relatively simple; you take the dog to a room where there are no distractions. Then open your hand and hold it in front of the animal with fingers showing downwards. Place the hand as close to the dog’s face as possible, probably just an inch or two away. He will try to smell your hand, the moment his nose comes into contact with your hand, move your hand away and say words like ‘good’ or ‘nice’ to make him feel rewarded. Keep on repeating the process until your dog becomes accustomed to the procedure. Add more words and distance to the method, and keep practising for a few weeks until the dog can move and smell the objects itself.
Ring the Bell
Another interesting thing you can teach senior dogs is to let you know whenever they want to go outside or perform some activity. It is an easy trick that requires them to ring a bell to inform the owner that they now wish to play outside. This process is more straightforward for older dogs to learn as they are already used to staying in the house and want to learn how to let you know if they are bored.
Take a jingling bell and place it on top of the doorknob in such a way that it stays suspended off the ground. Now ring the bell whenever you plan on taking your dog outside. It may take a few days for the dog to realise that’s their cue for physical activity in the park, but eventually, they will notice. After laying the foundation now ask your dog to go and ring the bell. They will be hesitant in the beginning, but eventually, they will start following your instructions. It will for sure keep the dog and the owner happy.
Cleaning the Space
This is a simple trick to keep your dog active when they cannot go outside and burn some calories. It also helps the owner to share the cleaning responsibilities with someone else and you can turn this into a fun game.
The teaching process is as easy as it gets. Spread your dog’s toys around the house or the room and then ask your dog to pick them up one by one. Start by doing it one toy at a time and give a command such as ‘pick it up’ or ‘put it away’ so pooch starts learning the significance of these words. When they pick the toy up, then place a basket somewhere, so they drop the toy into it and then reward them. Eventually, keep making it more difficult and add several items scattered around the space and ask them to pick them up one by one; ultimately, the area is clean. You can even play it as a game instead of it just being a duty for them.
Name of Objects
This game is the reverse of asking your dog to pick up and drop something in the basket. It not only involves their physical activity levels but also trains the dog mentally. Most dogs may not want to perform strict activities at this age so teaching them the names of things for identification can be an excellent choice.
Place some objects in a basket and then ask your dog to fetch a few of them. Start by doing it one object at a time. Give them the command of ‘give’ or ‘fetch’ an item. In the beginning, they will not follow what you mean so pick the toy up yourself and show them. After a few days, they will start recognising the words and the request. This is the hardest part. Once the first stage is clear then you can keep on increasing the numbers of items in the basket, and the dog will learn new names quickly.
Yes, you may not believe it, but your dog is capable of high-fiving. Many of them already know how to shake hands, but this can add something more to the ones who have grown in age. It does not take much effort either as they already know they need to lift their paw whenever you give them a cue to shake hands.
Just make sure your arm stays at a distance and start raising it. While doing so, say ‘gimme a five’ or something that they will understand. Do the arm lifting slowly because the dog might think you are trying to punish them or slap them. Slowly and gradually, he will realise that you need a different response from him and will tap his paw on your palm. Show him how to do it if he doesn’t show any interest.
There are many factors involved in how quickly and efficiently your dog learns whatever you are teaching. Its behavior and history, physical condition, level of activity, mental health, age and the nature of the exercises all contribute to the final result. The tricks mentioned above will help you in teaching something new to your dog and bring new interest and excitement into your dog’s life.