Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Literally
I know I'm using a trite expression when asking this but...can you teach an old dog new tricks? I have a twelve year old Boxer, and I want to keep him healthy and active for as long as possible.
Literally. There was a Mythbusters on this exact question and they taught two old Alaskan Malamutes new tricks (dogs who had never been trained). Just find the right trainer.
Exercise that dog more. He is handsome but needs to lose weight!
Yep. I see people often make excuses for why their dog doesn't learn. Age, breed, stupidity, past history which usually includes some sort of abuse. Even if the owner doesn't definitively know about any abuse, some will make it up: "My dog shies away from me- it must have been abused before I got it." It goes on. Train like you would any other dog.
I always recommend getting a thorough checkout with the vet first; a dog that isn't learning how to sit may have bad hips that prevents it from sitting without pain.
I gotta say that dogs have actual minds in the heads. They crave stimulation, not just physical, but mental and emotional as well. So, with that knowledge, yes they are more than willing to learn new things and to adopt new ways. At least, I haven't met a dog who hasn't been able to.
Absolutely; however, it has to be done by first ruling-out medical issues and then by fully implementing correctly that is, classical conditioning and/or operant conditioning techniques.
Absolutely!!! It's done every day. In fact, I did it yesterday with my 11 year old sheltie. And it's easy too.
For inspiration, I teach competition dog agility. I had a student and her 9 year old Golden join my school. They were beginning students. This team worked hard, and the Golden learned hundreds of commands between the age of 9 and 14. She retired from competition agility at 14, but not before earning her Master's titles.
For exercise - both mental and physical - you might consider the Fitpaws peanut exercise ball. I'm writing a product review hub on it, but it's a great way to keep your dog in shape indoors. Agility competitors use the peanut, egg and donut to rehab their dogs and keep their dogs in competition fighting shape.
Whatever tricks you teach, have fun, and make it a great game for your dog. Congrats for wanting to keep him healthy and happy in his senior years!!!
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