Teaching an old dog new tricks
Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, must not have owned a dog. If dogs are anything, they are extremely intelligent and can learn many new things given the chance to show you. When training your canine, keep in mind that negative energy leads to negative results. So yelling, smacking, cursing or punishment is uncalled for. Besides, you wouldn’t treat a child like that and dogs are essentially just little children with fur, tails and four legs!
The first thing to learn when training your dog to do anything new is to never change your verbal expression, tone or volume. If you say, “come here, boy” then do not change to “Fido, come here”. By doing this, your dog will become confused and it will cause unneeded frustration for both of you. If you want to make things easier for your dog, combine acoustic commands with hand or body gestures. The first and foremost language your dog speaks is body language. Dogs communicate with each other by using a wide range of movements like waving their tail, circling around each other, yawning, ducking etc. So it gets much easier for your dog to read you and obey to your commands when you backup your spoken words with clear gestures.
A couple of tips to take into consideration when training your dog is to reward him with treats for good behavior, however be sure to also give a lot of praise and patting to ensure he does not rely totally on the treats when being good. Keep in mind that for some dogs it’s a bigger pleasure to play with you than to eat a treat. So it’s up to you to find the ideal method to reward your dog. You may also think about enrolling your dog in an obedience class. Even if training is going good at home, this will give him extra practice with interaction between other animals and people. Stress and distractions hinder our dogs to follow our orders. So it is important to slowly increase the stress level while you are teaching your dog new tricks. This will make your dog more resilient when surprising events occur. A perfect “stay” at home is nice, but a “stay” next to the street while a cat is running on the other side of the road is lifesaving. This mastership doesn’t come over night. You need constant training and a slowly increasing difficulty level of your exercises.
When training your dog don’t cram everything into one day and expect him to remember it. Dogs have short attention spans and will quickly become bored, so try to keep training time down to short sessions throughout the day.
By keeping your training sessions short, regular, positive and fun you will be able to teach your dog new tricks in a breeze. Praise and reward your dog for each and every success and your dog will reward you with amazing results. Yeah, before long he might even surprise you with somersaults!