Can You Teach Dog Obedience to a Senior Pet?

Can You Teach Dog Obedience to a Senior Pet?

We’ve all heard the saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but is that the reality? Once a dog hits senior age, many dog owners have long since stopped thinking about teaching dog obedience. Whether you have had the dog for a long time, or are adopting a senior, there is no reason to think they cannot be taught to behave better. All dogs, regardless of age, want to be part of a family and feel useful. They also all need to stay active. Dog obedience training, whether by yourself or with a dog trainer, can help with all those things. Essentially, keeping your dog engaged can keep them feeling youthful.

Dog Obedience Gives a Chance for Bonding Time

Chances are that your dog loves nothing better than to spend time with you or other family members. Training can be a fun time between dog and owner when you can work on strengthening your bond even further. When dogs get older, they may not be able to walk and run as much, so this will also provide them with stimulation when they are not able to experience the world of San Antonio outside of your property as much.

There are Always New Things to Learn

There are always new things for a dog to learn. Check with your veterinarian before starting any training program, however. If you are not sure of what type of things to teach your dog, a dog trainer might be able to provide some advice. They may not be able to handle rigorous agility and athletic games, but they can do lower-impact games. You can do agility drills, but just more gently. Scent work is also a great way to engage their brains and their senses without being too strenuous. No matter what, make sure that it is fun for you and fun for your pooch.

Make Adjustments

Making adjustments will be important for dog obedience with a senior dog. This is especially true if they have had health issues already. Senior dogs sleep because they need more rest. They may also respond more slowly to training than they’re used to, since they may be undergoing cognitive changes. Make your training less physically demanding for your dog and be extra patient. Don’t assume that they are intentionally ignoring your commands. They may just be processing slowly or may have difficulty hearing or seeing that you may not have noticed before. You can always switch up your traditional cues, whether they be hand signals or verbal, to see which type gets the best reaction.

Tailor the Training

You know your dog better than anyone, so try to take their strengths and weaknesses into account when coming up with a training idea. Jumping and running will not be a good choice for dogs who have arthritis or other physical ailments. Dogs cannot speak, so you need to be able to read their body language and cues to see if something is too much for them to handle. If you don’t have an idea of what to train, then consult with a dog trainer for help. They will have many ideas to engage your dog without causing unnecessary strain.

Our dogs are our family, and there is no reason why we cannot continue to bond with them as they reach senior age. Dog obedience training is a great way to keep your dog’s mind and body engaged and healthy.

For more information about dog obedience training is the San Antonio, San Marcos, Austin, and New Braunfels area, visit our website at