You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

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The ideal time to teach your dog acceptable behaviors and new tricks is when he is a puppy. Contrary to the old adage, however, old dogs can learn new tricks as well. It just takes time, patience and consistency.

The Art of Teaching Tricks

There are four keys to keep in mind when teaching your dog a new command.

  • Cue – Be consistent with the cue you use to communicate with your dog. Hand signals, voice commands and other sound markers work well.
  • Treat – When your dog performs the command properly, give him a small dog treat or a couple pieces of kibble.
  • Repeat – Stay vigilant in your training. Spend a few minutes each day to reinforce the training.
  • Praise – Reward your dog with lots of tummy rubs and loving gestures when he gets the command right. Never scold him if he doesn’t do it properly, but gently repeat the command.

Tips for Training a Dog to Stop Barking

It is embedded in a dog’s DNA to protect your home from intruders. He hears the delivery truck before you even see it coming down the street and he sees the neighbor kids playing in their yard. Scolding your dog is never recommended. Instead, try to distract him with attention and play.

There are many products on the market that are designed to discourage your dog from barking. Ultrasonic training devices, such as Barx Buddy, are designed to emit a high-frequency sound that only your dog will hear. The sound is annoying to dogs, but it won’t hurt them. It catches their attention and discourages them from continuing the behavior. When your dog barks, you press a button on the remote to emit the sound.

Keys for Teaching Your Dog Some Fun Tricks

Dogs can learn a variety of tricks. Some of the most common are listed below.

  • Stay – Help your dog into a sitting position as you praise him and give him a small treat. While holding your dog with one arm, show him the treat in your other hand and tell him to stay. After 3 seconds, let him go and praise him while giving him the treat. Continue the exercise and wait a little longer each time, while also holding the treat farther away. 
  • Rollover – Coax your dog to lay on his side with repeated praise and treats. With a treat in hand, start at his stomach and slowly move your hand across him. This will make him roll to reach the treat. Praise and treat him repeatedly until he masters the task.
  • Spin – Place a treat in your closed hand. Move your hand slowly in a circle motion around his body while telling him to spin. His keen nose will follow the treat around the circle until he faces you again. Let him have the treat and praise him. Continue the training, but limit the number of times you do this at one sitting to avoid making him dizzy.

Training your dog requires patience and can be time-consuming, but it is well worth it in the end.  

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