Have you ever had a pet that you struggled to train? Did you ever reach a point where you felt like there was no use in training it? Perhaps your dog was too old and you are familiar with the age old saying that you “can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Thankfully, this fallacy has been disproven many times over and you can in fact teach a dog of any age tricks and manners without loads of hours or effort.
Whether you have a pup who is still learning boundaries or you have a dog who has been a part of your household for a long time, you can teach new behaviors (or encourage a brushing up on manners) with training that emphasizes rewards. This can help to reframe how your dog interacts with rewards that build desirable behaviors over bad behavior habits. This is a great method because not only will you experience relief from a more well-mannered pooch, but your dog will get rewards for obeying.
The basis for better behavior is simple. Focus on three basic behaviors to make positive changes to your relationship with your furry friend.
Go to Your Place
Teaching your dog to go to a designated spot (like his bed or mat) when asked can help solve a number of problems. You can thus send your dog away when whining at the dinner table or running to the door when company arrives. By teaching your dog to go to its spot, you are creating a strategy that it can understand that results in praise and rewards.
Eye contact can be perceived as a challenge or threat to a dog and can be uncomfortable for some. It is important you help your dog to overcome this with rewards and praise in order to help it build self-confidence, reducing stress or anxiety that could be associated with interactions with humans. Eye contact can be useful when needing to get your dog’s attention to distract him from undesirable behaviors.
Use touch to direct your dog’s attention from an undesirable behavior. Teach your dog to allow you to gently hold his collar or touch him when situations arise where you need to gain his attention to redirect his behavior to an acceptable one.
By using these behaviors, you can build a framework that you can begin to build better manners on, no matter your dog’s age.