Contrary to the popular saying, teaching an old new tricks is entirely possible. The trick is this - don't ask him to do anything his body can't handle. Michael Hayward explains here that it's all about mental stimulation and older dogs need that as much as young pups when training them to do anything new.
Ever looked across the park at Betty and her dog Reg, where he's all bushy tailed, performing a double front flip with a sideways glance?
Betty takes it in her stride and walks off in the knowledge that everyone has seen the performance. And have you ever felt that a) what a show off Betty is, and b) that your dog could do that if it wanted to?
Well, you needn't fret, because it's never too late to teach that old dog of yours some new tricks. All you'll need is a pack of treats and some patience. Lots of it. So, here come six of the best.
1. Train your older dog to turn around
Start off by getting your dog to face you, standing up. Have a treat ready in your hand, and let them see it.
Then stand very still and say, "Turn around". Once you have said “turn around” try to lead the dog's nose clockwise with the treat as an enticer until they walk a full circle. Once they have completed the manoeuvre, and the dog is back facing you, say “Good boy/girl” and give them the treat.
The trick with this is to be consistent.
Don't lead them round to the right one time and go left the next. Stick to one. After a while let them see their treat, but this time say “Turn around” without leading them. One day they'll get it and be turning as fast as a bullet from a gun.
So there you have it, a few nifty tricks to show off to Betty and Reg. Don't forget to reward your dog for their patience as well, because sometimes they won't know what on earth you are trying to make them do. Good luck!
This month we are sharing advice to help new dog owners in their first 30 days as a new dog owner.
Share your top tips in the comments below and let’s help more dog owners navigate the early days together.