There is a saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
I’m not sure of the origins of the saying (google tells me it’s been around since about 1534!) but you may be glad to hear that it’s actually untrue.
One of the questions I often get asked by clients is whether their dog is too old to learn something new. My stock answer is “never too old”, in fact teaching dogs of any age is possible, and fun for all. Granted, it may take a little longer to teach an older dog, who has pulled like a train for years, to loose lead walk, but with time, consistency and patience it is most definitely possible.
Whether we are teaching loose lead walking or letting our dogs learn through play, it’s all ‘tricks’ to them and is beneficial for all.
When I was training to be a dog trainer, my partner in crime was Myrtle, a 13-year-old border collie. While her body may have been slowing down abit, her brain was still as active as ever. She would ‘light up’ whenever the clicker appeared and adored learning new things. I even taught her to read! – I have the video evidence on my Facebook page @canineclicks.
Older dogs sometimes get over looked when it comes to training.
They may have slowed down abit and aren’t as giddy as they once were, but this is the time that it is perhaps even more important to encourage them to learn new things. By keeping their brains active through learning and thinking we can increase their quality, (and perhaps length), of life.
This blog was inspired by the lovely photo below, sent to me by a customer who had bought a snuffle mat for her little old ladies 13th birthday. Using the mat for eating enabled her to keep her brain active (and tire her out!!)