The old adage goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But, modern science has shown us the opposite to be true. As long as your dog is healthy and you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can teach even a senior dog new skills and tricks!
Establish a baseline.
A baseline is the average performance level of your dog in any given situation. For example, if you’re working on teaching your dog to sit whenever you say “sit,” you’ll want to establish a baseline by having your dog perform that trick at least 20 times in a row without any mistakes or distractions.
After establishing a baseline, you can use it as a benchmark for your training progress. If your dog’s performance begins to slip (she sits only 18 out of 20 times), it’s time for some remedial lessons until she gets back up to speed—you don’t want her messing up the whole routine!
Socialize your dog.
Socialization is important for all dogs, but especially for puppies. It helps them to become confident, friendly and well-adjusted dogs. They learn how to interact with other dogs and people, how to behave appropriately in new environments, and even how to read human body language. As a result of socialization your dog will be able to recognize an unfamiliar person as a friend or foe much more quickly than an unsocialized dog would. This is especially useful if you are going out into the world with your dog on their very first outing!
The best way to socialize your puppy is through positive experiences with lots of different things that might scare them—other animals at the park; people coming into their home unexpectedly; loud noises like fireworks; riding in cars; etc.—so that they can quickly learn what’s safe…and what isn’t!
Reward-based training is the best way to train any dog.
Reward-based training is the highest-value method for teaching your dog new tricks. Reward-based training teaches your dog that good behavior brings positive consequences and bad behavior results in negative consequences. The best part about reward-based training is that it’s easy to figure out what your dog wants, so you’ll always know how to motivate them.
Practice, practice and practice some more.
It is absolutely essential that you practice your dog’s new trick over and over again. It may seem tedious at first, but like any muscle memory, dogs learn best by repetition.
Practice the same trick with different people, too. If you teach your dog to sit for your husband and then only train them to sit when you give the command, they may not understand what’s expected of them later on.
Practice the trick in different environments as well. That way if your dog does something completely different than usual one day—say at school or out on a walk—they still have a chance of understanding what you want from them because they’ve practiced it so often before!
Teach him to “come.”
You can teach your dog to come when called, but you’ll need to put in some work. This is a great skill for any owner of a dog, as it’s great for keeping him safe and prevents him from running off into danger or getting lost.
You’ll want to practice this trick in a safe area where there are no distractions and no other people or animals present. You will also want to use a high-value treat with your dog so that he will be motivated enough not only to come back when called but also to get the treat that awaits him at the end of his journey back home!
When teaching your pup how to come, start by calling him over using the command “come” – be sure not to say any other words or sounds during this training session (e.g., “come here” or anything else). When he comes close enough for you reach out and grab hold of his collar (or harness), give him his favorite treat while giving him lots of praise! If needed, try repeating this process until your pup understands what “come” means before moving onto practicing outdoors with different surfaces underneath foot and even around other people who may distract them from listening attentively towards their owner’s voice instead…
Teach him to “stay.”
Teaching your dog to stay is one of the most basic commands, and a good starting point for any new dog-trainer. Stay means that the dog will remain in place until released.
A great way to teach this command is by using a treat. Hold up a treat in front of your dog and say “stay.” If he stays put for a few seconds, give him praise and give him the treat. If he breaks position before you release him, be sure not to punish him—just try again later! Teach ‘stay’ in room(s) where there are no distractions for your pup so that it becomes easier as he learns it more thoroughly!
Teach him to “sit.”
Teaching your dog to sit is one of the easiest things you can teach him, and it’ll make all other training much easier. First, get ready to give the command. If you want your dog to do something for you, such as sitting or laying down, it’s best to start by getting his attention and saying “sit.” Then offer a treat as a lure so he will move into a sitting position; when he does this correctly (i.e., sits), give him the treat while saying “good job” or another positive reinforcement like “yes!” or “good boy/girl.” Repeat this process until he starts doing it on command without needing the treat luring him in first!
Once your dog has learned how to do something new on command like sit properly (without needing any treats), try adding distractions into the mix so that they need more focus than just focusing on getting their reward after performing certain actions just right!
Teach him how to “shake hands.”
To teach your dog to shake hands, hold a treat in your hand and extend it toward him. When he sniffs the treat, tap his nose with your other hand. As soon as he lifts his paw to touch your hand and get the reward, say “good,” then give him the treat. Repeat until he can shake on command without hesitation or signs of confusion.
Teach him how to “roll over.”
To teach him how to roll over, start by getting him into the position where he would naturally lie down: on his side with his head pointing toward you. Once he’s in this position, give him a treat and say “roll over.” Then move the treat from one side of his nose to the other while encouraging him verbally (e.g., “good boy”). As soon as he rolls onto his back completely, praise him enthusiastically and give him another treat!
Teach him how to kiss you.
First, start by rewarding your dog when he does the trick. For example, if the word kiss means that he should kiss your hand and he does it correctly then give him a treat. Doing this will encourage your dog to try harder because he knows that doing this trick will make him get a treat. If at any point during training your dog doesn’t do what you say or performs poorly on his own accord, simply stop giving treats until they learn what needs to be done again. Eventually they’ll catch up with what’s expected of them!
With a little extra time and patience, you can teach an old dog new tricks.
As with any learning experience, it’s important to set realistic expectations. Your dog will not learn a new trick in one session. He or she may not even grasp the concept of the trick until you repeat it several times over several days. Be patient and don’t get frustrated if your dog isn’t catching on right away. If you want to teach your old dog some new tricks, start with an activity that is very simple for him or her (for example, teaching a sit) before moving on to more challenging behaviors (like playing dead).
If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, take these tips into consideration before choosing a new furry friend. There’s no doubt that when you bring your dog home he will become part of the family, but there are some things to know beforehand. Having an open dialogue with your family and discussing expectations is important because not all dogs are the same, and not all breeds will fit every lifestyle. Once you have decided on a dog to adopt, remember that it takes time to train him and teach him new tricks—but it will be worth it.