Senior dog training

senior-dog-trainingDogs of all ages have the capability to learn. Puppies are the most pertinent ones to train such as potty training, but senior dogs are willing and have the mental mindset to keep learning new things. Some senior dogs have had little training and need more work.

Some senior dogs have had plenty of training but their owners just want to keep them engaged. Whatever the reason, it is never impossible to teach a senior dog “new tricks”.
Senior dogs are defined as dogs older than seven generally speaking. This does depend on the breed and size of the dog as smaller dogs become seniors in later years. Senior dogs have had much more experience and have been more socialized. But just because of that does not mean that senior dogs do not still have more to learn.

Training a senior dog is easier than it seems

A senior dog that has had little training but is calmer and less stressed can easily be trained to understand more commands, tweak unwanted behavior problems and be more sociable. This kind of training can only be beneficial to a pet, at any age.
On the other side, just as senior dogs have had more experience and developed patience and are calmer, senior dogs can also acquire unwanted behavior. Over time and through the years, life experiences might traumatize them and create phobias, fears, and bad habits. Some examples are bringing home a new puppy and your senior dog does not accept them, moving to a new home, dog fights, even separation anxiety. Just like in humans, dogs are shaped by life experiences and life styles changes as well, and this reflects in their behavior.


Older dogs that have been seen to enjoy learning and are kept engaged can keep learning easily. Many dog breeds were bred to work, such as pulling sleds, guarding, and herding sheep, and their minds need to be kept occupied, even until their later years. Perhaps your Border Collie of nine years cannot run as fast as he used to and cannot keep up with the sheep, but to prevent boredom and bad behavior, you can train him to learn how to do tricks with a ball, catch a Frisbee, or even bring you the newspaper. Physically, a senior dog might not be able to perform tricks or commands that take a lot of physical energy, but mentally they will still appreciate learning and keeping their mental health sharp, even if it is small tricks. Boredom and destruction come with any age and continuing training with an older dog can prevent those bad behaviors from arising.

Training can start at any age

An old dog can always learn new tricks. Training at any age will benefit a dog as life keeps going, changes happen and your dog might need some adjustments. It gives another opportunity to strengthen your bond and relationship with your senior dog, as his time starts counting down and makes him feel appreciated that you are spending time with him. Learning and training keeps their mind active, sometimes when their body cannot be, and keeps a dog fulfilled and pleased.