You have probably heard the saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” but this is absolutely false. The reality is that you can and should keep training your dog throughout the course of his life. Just like people, dogs need a certain degree of mental stimulation to keep their minds sharp and training is a great way to do that.
Why is Training Important for Dogs?
While dogs may be domesticated animals they are not born with an innate desire to respond to commands – you have to teach them what the commands mean and give them a reason to comply (treats and praise). Training your dog from a young age is extremely important for a number of reasons. For one thing, it helps you to build a positive and trusting relationship with your dog – your dog will learn to look to you for guidance. Training your dog to respond to commands is also very important for his safety – if you cannot control your dog you cannot stop him from getting into potentially dangerous situations. Dog training is also helpful for increasing your dog’s sociability and for avoiding problem behaviors.
Reasons to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
When you first bring your puppy home you will need to teach him the basics of obedience training – things like Sit, Stay, Down, and Come. You will also need to socialize him and, once he gets old enough to control his bladder, housetrain him. As dogs move out of the puppy phase and into adulthood, many dog owners assume that their training responsibilities go away. In reality, however, training should be a continuous effort throughout the course of your dog’s life. The more you work with your dog, the stronger your bond with him becomes and that can and should continue well into your dog’s senior years. Even after your dog learns the basic commands there is always a way to reinforce his response by adding new challenges such as distance, distractions, or hand signals.
As your dog gets older, training plays another very important role in his health and well being – it helps to exercise his mind in order to keep him sharp. You don’t even have to teach your dog complicated tricks or commands to benefit him – something as simple as teaching your dog to shake hands, bark on command, or roll over can be beneficial. When it comes to dog training, you aren’t limited to teaching your dog tricks, either – you can also train him to participate in various dog sports or to learn how to perform a specific task. Different dog breeds have different strengths so take the time to do a little research about your dog to see what kind of training might benefit him most.
Your dog is more than just a pet – he is your lifelong friend and devoted companion. Even though one of the most important benefits of dog training is to increase your control over your dog, it is important to remember that training is beneficial for your dog as well. It helps to exercise his mind as well as his body and it can help strengthen the bond between the two of you. For all of these reasons and more it is important to keep training your dog well into his adult and senior years.