Old dog, new tricks. Top tips for training an older dog

The old saying goes ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ but training an older dog can be great fun and very rewarding for you both.

Training strengthens bonds and is also a good form of mental and physical stimulation.

Use treats with a strong scent

Reward based training using treats is a great way to keep your older dog engaged.

As dogs age, their sensory abilities such as smell and taste can be affected.

Try using a reward that has a strong smell and taste to keep them interested.  Try mixing up smelly rewards to stop them getting bored.

Meatlove meat and treat salmon has a great taste and an irresistible scent.

Be aware of calorie intake

As dogs age, their metabolism slows down. This makes them prone to gaining weight.

Try using low fat rewards such as Kiwi Walker freeze dried rabbit. Rabbit is lower in fat than most other meats.

Make sure treats are counted as part of your dog’s daily food allowance.

Keep sessions short

All training sessions should be kept short and sweet for any dog.

It is even more important to take this into consideration when training an older dog. Training requires a lot of concentration and is mentally tiring.

Try to keep training sessions to around 3 minutes long. Any more than this could put too much strain on an older dog.

Avoid pressure on the joints

Choose tricks that are easy on the joints. Teaching your older dog tricks that involve them getting up and down may not be suitable.

Try opting for tricks like hand/ eye targets or vocal cues.

Be careful not to ask your dog to perform beyond what they are comfortable with.

Be clear

As dogs age their hearing or sight may be compromised. If you are using verbal cues, be sure to communicate loud and clear.

It may also useful to use a combination of both hand and verbal cues to make understanding even easier.

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