Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks: Training Techniques and Tips

You know that age-old cliché that says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? We don’t believe it for a second! Training your senior dog might seem like a lot of work, but when done correctly, can prove to be 100% effective. We believe in the power of our furry friends, which is why we’ve compiled a list of dog training tips and techniques that are effective, easy and vet-approved.


Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks: Training Techniques and Tips

July 19, 2018

Tip One: Understanding Your Dog’s Behaviour And Where It Comes From

Before you start, it’s important that you understand which training method is best for your dog based on his current behaviour. Animals with more complex nervous systems have a greater capacity to learn new responses and adjust their behaviour. But, what does this mean for your furry friend? It means that even if they are more susceptible to training than other animals, various other factors may influence their behaviour. So, before tackling a certain training technique, it’s important to take the following things into account before deciding which training method best suits your pawed pal.

  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Environment
  • Experience
  • Physiology

If you have any questions about your dog and how to take the first step, we’re here to help you find the right approach for your dog.

Tip Two: The Habituation Training Technique

There is a common misconception that training your dog is only limited to treats or delicious doggy snacks. However, dogs aren’t always motivated by treats, especially once they tend to reach the more senior phase of their lives. The Habituation technique is great for senior dogs and is a form of learning that involves no rewards. This training technique involves frequent exposure – until your dog no longer negatively responds to it.

For example: A dog who disliked cats might be shown a cat from a metre away, and on each successive day the trainer might decrease the distance between the dog and the cat. This process will continue until the dog no longer fears the cat. If this type of training technique sounds like it could benefit your dog, talk to Family Pet Centre about our range of recommended dog training books.

Tip Three: The Shaping Training Technique

Even if you might have a senior dog, this approach is based on taking baby steps. Shaping works by using gradual estimates and allows you to reward your dog for any initial behaviour that resembles the desired behaviour. For example, rewarding your dog for squatting, will increase the chances of him squatting, until the squatting behaviour gradually evolves into teaching him to sit on command. If you are interested in taking on the Shaping Training technique, have a look at our large range of dog treats to help the process along.

Tip Four: Positive Reinforcement

Reinforcement can either be your superpower or your downfall. When using positive reinforcement, there is a positive relationship between the behaviour and its consequences. In cases like these, be sure to encourage and reinforce positive behaviour through plenty of praise and cuddles until your dog understands what is expected of him. As for negative behaviour, be sure to handle it appropriately too. If your dog isn’t responding to the training commands, negatively reward bad behaviour by not giving your dog the attention he or she is looking for.

Tip Five: One-Word Commands

Keep your training commands short and simple, it will keep training sessions more concise. One-word commands also make it easier for your dog to understand what is expected and keeps their attention from drifting away or getting distracted by activities around them with long worded and complicated commands. If your dog has decreased hearing, you can even add hand signals to your training technique, instead of one-word commands.


Treat your dog for being a good boy during your training sessions with
our wide range of dog toys and training books:
For any more advice or tips on training your dog, feel free
to contact us or visit our store, we’d love to chat!




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