We Can Help Older Dogs
Older dogs may require training for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes, behavioral issues simply weren’t addressed when they were younger. Other times, new issues are due to age-related physical problems, such as arthritic pain that causes your dog to snap when touched or a weak bladder that causes a sudden onset of housebreaking issues. For this reason, I always recommend that an older dog’s training program begin with a trip to the vet so we can identify any underlying medical problems.
Often, however, older dogs’ behavioral problems are related to anxiety as a result of life changes, such as a move, a new pet, or children leaving for college. They may have also simply developed some bad habits as they’ve gotten older. If you haven’t consistently set boundaries, your dog might have taken a mile every time you gave an inch. Instead of getting better with age, they may be getting more stubborn and set in their ways.
But old dogs CAN learn new tricks!
Once, for example, I worked with a dog that quite suddenly decided he didn’t like being told to get off the bed. As the dog had gotten older, the owners had become increasingly lax about enforcing the rules. The dog had, as a result, decided to develop his own boundaries until they reached a point where he would snap whenever he was told to get off the bed. As a trainer, I worked with the family to reinforce basic obedience, reestablish clear boundaries, and reify the owners’ status as the leader. Now the dog doesn’t even try to get up on the bed, let alone snap!
Whatever the cause behind an older dog’s behavior, I can get to the bottom of it and help! Too many dog owners become stressed and frustrated with their older dog’s behavior. Similarly, too many older dogs are left in shelter because people are afraid that they can’t break them of their previous bad behaviors.