Old Dog Training: How To Teach An Old Dog New Tricks An Owner’s Guide

Old dog training can be more challenging than you would expect when training a dog. There are so many factors that will go into determining how easy it is for you to train your dog in the first place. For example, the breed of dog that you choose will have a massive bearing on how easy it is for you to train it. You may need old dog training as well.

Today, we are going to go over how to train an old dog. Many people ask us, “Can you train an older dog?” so we decided that we would write about it. There are many reasons why you may wish to train an older dog, from adoption to foster care, being able to train an older dog is a useful ability for any dog lover.

Old Dog Training

There are things aside from your dog’s breed that will impact your training experience, such as its history. If you have a rescue dog, for example, it may have sustained emotional or physical trauma that makes it difficult for your pet to learn new tricks. Dogs are like people in that each one is different.

If your dog is unwilling to cooperate when it comes to learning tricks, there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with it; some dogs are just reluctant to learn. Unfortunately, you can force a dog to learn things, especially tricks. Behavior, on the other hand, can often be taught to any dog, dependent on your choice of technique.

Is It Possible To Train Your Older Dog?

Most of our readers have probably heard the phrase that inspired the title of this article. Is it indeed possible to teach an old dog new tricks? To answer that question, we first have to verify the accuracy of the phrase. Are older dogs objectively harder to train than younger ones?

Common sense would argue that it becomes harder to impress lessons upon a dog as it gets older since its mind will be less receptive to lessons, much like a person. It will get more difficult for your dog to retain new information but it will not be impossible, and many older dogs stay rather sharp in their old age.

While it may get more and more challenging to train a dog as it gets older, you may be wondering if it is still possible in any case. Some dog breeds may have difficulty learning anything past a certain age, but others will be highly capable. While larger dogs tend to age quicker, they will also be quite intelligent as they get older.

For example, Alaskan Malamutes become more and more clever as they age, to the point that some owners consider them to be family members on their own. If a dog can get smarter as it ages, what is there stopping it from being trained?

Instead of asking yourself, “Can you train an old dog?” You should ask yourself if you should. Training an old dog may be possible, but you will have to be an experienced dog trainer. It is hard enough to train a dog that is young, receptive, and willing to be trained, but older dogs will be more reluctant.

If this is your first time training a dog, we would recommend starting elsewhere. If you think that you have a dog who is particularly receptive, we encourage you to go on, however.

Tips On How To Train An Older Dog

Can older dogs be trained? Yes. How do you do it? That is a different matter. When you decide to train an older dog, the most important thing is to be aware of what it can and can’t accomplish. Older dogs are not as capable as younger ones so you will have to take more care in your training.

When training an older dog, you will want to slow down the training so that it will be able to keep up with you.

While slowing down too much will make it impossible for your dog to learn, you will want to keep the pace manageable enough for your older canine to follow along.

You will want to avoid punishing your older dog over the course of your training. Motivational training tends to work much better for older dogs since all dogs are more receptive to positive reinforcement as opposed to negative reinforcement.

If your dog is old, you will want it to enjoy learning, not fear it.

When you start training your older dog, you should recognize when the time comes to start training. When a dog reaches a certain age, it becomes incapable of some activities, and learning tricks are one of them.

Respect your dog’s old age and let it get some rest when it needs it.

Training older dogs is a great way to keep track of the degradation of their mind and body as well. All of the different actions that your dog performs while training will let you see how well it can move.

Teaching an old dog some tricks is a great way to see how its mental faculties are holding up. A dog that can still comprehend and perform tricks at an old age is one with superior mental health.

If you come across any issues while you are training an older dog, you will want to consult with your vet as soon as possible.

You may be able to lengthen your dog’s life if you spot an issue early on and you seek medical attention in relatively short order.

old dog training
Remember that your dog’s safety is the most important thing to consider when you are training it. Do everything that you can to ensure that training goes comfortably for your canine friend and take any precautions which are needed to deal with its old age.


As long as you take care while training your older dog, you will have few issues. We thank you for taking the time to read up on how to train even the oldest of your furry friends. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.