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Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

There is the old saying that is far to frequently used as a comparison to older people being set in there ways and unwilling to change. That saying is, you cannot teach an old dog a new trick. You would be surprised what your dog is capable of with some patience and time, and a bit of planning your dog can start learning some new commands and actions.

Now most dogs keep their character traits and maintain the same personality from the time there a puppy until they’re a full-grown dog. For example a dog that is nervous or in general scared of other people or dogs, without your assistance and intervention isn’t likely to change their behavior.

A solid option that is with in your control is to teach your dog to behave in specific situations a certain way. Like the ability to remain calm and attentive to you’re commands in a threatening situation. You want your dog to look to you as the pack leader. This is imperative if you expect your dog to follow your directions when it comes to learning a new task or trick.

It’s important to teach the correct response to hand signals and voice cues. This is a vital method of communication to a dog you’re training. You must remain consistent and patient during this process; your dog can sense your frustration and aggravation. So if at any time you are feeling anxious or just not in a great mood, give your dog some space and move training time back a bit to when your feeling in better spirits.

Using treats is a very good way to keep your dog interested in learning a new trick. Using the sit command, as an initial learning experience for your dog is a great idea, now for the most part even older dogs already know how to perform this command without much effort. This comes very naturally to dogs.

Studies show, that out of all domesticated animals, dogs are the most cable of picking up on facial expressions and visual and audible cues to accomplish goals that you set out in front of them. So in essence no matter what shape and size or even age your dog is, they ultimately have this all wired into there genetic make up.

Lay down is an important command to teach your dog. It shows submission in a situation where they might have been doing something you don’t care for, for example barking at the neighbor as they walk by the window out front of your home. Or even when you’re walking with them down the block for their daily romp around the neighborhood on a leash. Keep the treats in your pocket; get them to stop barking, once there calm and focused solely on you, then its appropriate to give them a treat.

Only after they have 100% relaxed and become calm submissive, then and only then do you reward them. This teaches them a learned behavior or “trick” using a treat to reward your dog is called conditional stimulus and is the most common way to train your dog to follow your directions.

Just remember to consciously follow through with a reward for the action once accomplished and you should very likely see the dog learning this new behavior and what will occur once they complete the task or action.