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Most of you have heard the old adage, “you can’t teach an old dog, new tricks”. While this saying is catchy, it is completely false. The adage is basically saying, you can’t teach or train something or someone old. With our seven – going on – eight year old beagle, Charlie, this adage is far from the truth. As Charlie is getting older, I just want to help her remember the fun tricks she did when she was younger.
When Charlie was a puppy, I’ll admit it, we spoiled her. She was our fur baby, we didn’t have kids yet. She practically got everything thing she wanted. Then it happened.
The kid came.
Our sweet low-maintenance dog did not adjust well to having the attention taken away from her. I would say the kid loves the dog and the dog is tolerant of the kid. Thankfully, over the past few months, Their relationship is getting stronger. I trained Charlie when she was a puppy, but took a break for years. Now that the kid is more mobile and interactive, I have to get back to training our dog to keep up with the kid. Charlie was a pretty sharp dog, I just want to make sure she’s still sharp. Last month, I introduced her to some Purina ProPlan Bright Mind Dog Food to help with cognitive ability. One weekend, I took her into the backyard and started recalling and practicing her old tricks that she did when she was younger. She did excellent! We bonded again. You CAN help an old dog remember new tricks. Here are some tips.
Use the dog’s name often when training. Try to use a positive yet firm tone.
Most dogs are food-motivated. Use treats that are safe and tasty. If you don’t have treats, you can use dog food like some kibble from Purina ProPlan Bright Mind Dog Food.
3) Keep in mind their capability
There may be some mental limitations with your senior dog. With age, cognitive changes can develop and can lead to changes in behavior. Senior and adult pets may forget some learned behaviors. Well I knew Charlie was getting older, and I knew her diet can improve her cognitive ability. We went to PetSmart and picked up Purina ProPlan Bright Mind Dog Food, ProPlan Bright Mind is specially formulated to increase cognitive awareness in adult (age 7+) dogs. The formulas contain enhanced botanical oils that promote memory, attention and trainability when added to the daily diet of dogs aged 7+. As a an owner of a senior dog, I definitely notice differences in our interaction, Charlie’s interest in play and her ability to adapt and cope with change.
For my fellow owners of senior dogs, if you Spend $10 on any Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog or Cat Food* at PetSmart between 8/31 and 10/4, you can save $10 on your next Purina Pro Plan Dry Food purchase, 14-lb. or more, on or before 11/1.
*Subject to availability. Transaction total is after discounts and before taxes.
4) Have patience
Dog training will require patience and compassion, especially if your dog is older. If your dog has been stubborn since puppyhood, they may be stubborn in their senior years. It may take time but your dog will enjoy training and bonding with you, if the situation remains non-stressful.
5) Consider the clicker
The Clicker has been very helpful in some dog training. If verbal commands aren’t working, try incorporating a clicker. Your dog may react well.
6) No distractions
Wherever you decide to train your dog, be sure it’s clear of any distractions. My dog is excited by people walking to the front door or when he sees my toddler. So I sent the kid to the park with his dad, and I took Charlie out in the backyard to do some training.
7) In the right mood
Dogs can be moody as well. Your dog should be alert and willing to participate. If they seem tired or disinterested, you’re better off waiting a while and trying again later.
How do you help your dog remember tricks?