The benefits of training an older dog

 In News

Expert Advise, by James Longhofer
Certified Master Dog Trainer,
Waggers Dog Daycare
Bayside, NY

The benefits of training an older dog

We’ve all heard the adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Nothing could be further from the truth! My 20 years experience training dogs has taught me a few of my own tricks so you can reap the benefits of a well trained, well mannered dog.

A puppy reaches maturity at approximately the age of 2, and during its formative years prior to 2, the puppy’s neurons are working on over-time to process the new world they live in. Generally speaking, after 2 years of age, a mature and established dog emerges, but that does not mean that they are done learning! Their desire to keep learning has not diminished and there are some distinct advantages to “teaching new tricks” to adult dogs.

Most adult dogs have more focus and can be attentive after they’ve reached maturity. Adult dogs are often easier to train than young puppies because they have more self-control. It’s vitally important to keep training your dog as they mature because training will keep their minds sharp and offer the mental stimulation and structure that they need.

The trick to training an older dog, who may have picked up some bad manners over the years, is to teach them to think about what behaviors they should do to earn a reward and how to respond when they are asked to perform that behavior. The biggest reward of training, for both dogs and humans, is the increased communication and bonding between pet and owner.

There is overwhelming evidence that dogs trained with positive reinforcement methods are quite willing to keep on learning, while those trained with physical and/or verbal punishment are more likely to shut down and be less willing to offer new behaviors. If you want your dog to be an eager participant in the learning process well into their sunset years, be sure to stick with a positive training program.

A training class is a great place for your dog to socialize with other dogs and people. It will allow you to see how they react to other dogs and strangers in a safe environment while attended by a professional dog trainer on hand to offer encouragement and advice.

Whether your dog is 10 months old or 10 years old, it’s never too late to start training

Feel free to call me with questions and concerns at (718) 229-WAGS (9247) or via email to We offer group classes and one-on-one training for puppies to (very teachable) adult dogs.

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