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Happy Dog, Happy Planet

Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

Does there come a point in time when a dog is too old to train? In other words, can you really teach an old dog new tricks?

Hi Shari,

ABSOLUTELY!!!  You can teach an old dog new tricks. With a little more patience’s you can teach an old dog how to behave in all situations, obedience commands and tricks. Using rewarding positive techniques your dog will enjoy and want to learn anything you wish to teach them. Never use NEGATIVE punishment. It DOESN’T work and your dog will only learn to fear you.

Give the dog a high valued treat for the behaviors you want. Such as sitting, being quiet etc. Ignore the behaviors you don’t like. Use a “conditional stimulus” to get your dog to do the desired behaviors. Give the dog a command then when he does the desired behavior say yes and treat. If they don’t do the command no reward. After five or so seconds ask for the behavior again.

Senior dogs are happy to learn and need new stimulation. Don’t let creaky joints or gray hair stop you.

Remember they still need to go for a walk daily even if it’s to the end of the block and back. Lying dogs end up lying deep in the ground.

Happy Waggin’,


Rachael C. Barbee, Dog Behaviorist
K-9 Second Chance, 404-421-1680

Rachael graduated from Animal Behavior College in Los Angeles. She shadowed Angie Woods. the Atlanta Dog Whisperer, for five months. She has attended many seminars on dog behavior and psychology with world renowned dog psychologist/behaviorist. She volunteers at shelters working with dogs and doing evaluations and belongs to the Georgia Dog Trainers Forum. Her company, K-9 Second Chance specializes in training and behavior modification.

Fri, February 26 2010 » Ask the Expert, Training

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Molly Molly

I am a three year old German Shepherd from South Georgia.  I don’t really have a favorite toy because my favorite things are sleeping and getting petted on the head. Although if I do get up some energy I will admit that I love getting into the trash to look for napkins.

My brother Teddy is lots of fun to play with, plus he usually takes the blame for my chewing.  I really like him for that!  I love to bark a lot; sometimes my humans do not appreciate that so much.  I am SUPER special because I am a white German Shepherd and that is not so common I hear.

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