So…Now That You Have Rescued a Senior Dog…Can You Teach Him Any New Tricks?
Bo, the most intelligent, talented cat of his generation (in his humble opinion): Don’t you just despise that familiar expression, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” While I may agree it could very well be applicable to our resident dog, Jessie, but to most any other dog, I think it is erroneous and judgmental. If you are one of the blessed individuals who have rescued a senior dog, kudos to you! I am here to give you a few pointers on teaching that wonderful pet of yours a few tricks that he might not already know! (You might learn something new, too!)
When teaching your dog some new tricks, be sure to reward the dog for performing the desired behavior. Give him a little treat for such simple acts as sitting, lying down, or stopping barking.
Next, add some special word or sign that comes before the behavior if you are going to reward it. This cue or word should only be delivered once. If your dog has hearing problems, be sure to speak up. Do not repeat the command once you have uttered it. If the dog obeys your command, immediately reward him. If not, withhold the reward. Don’t consider this as punishment – just no reward.
For more complicated performances, it has to be done in stages and practiced over time. That senior dog of yours can still be trained to get the paper or close a cabinet door. It takes consistency, patience, and love on your part, along with a bag of treats!
When you spend time with your pet teaching him new tricks, you not only afford him a sense of accomplishment (and yourself, too!), you create a bond with your pet that is unbreakable. Who knows? He might teach you a thing or two in the process! When you work to train your dog, you are building a great path of communication between the two of you. With your patience and persistence, your dog may soon read your mind and grab your slippers and the newspaper all at once! (Now if I can just get Jessie to grab her bag and leave, my work will be done here!)
(Thanks to petplace.com for this great information! However, they have offered me NO advice on how to perform the most miraculous of tricks: making Jessie disappear. Guess I have to figure that one out all by myself. She’s napping now, so I have some peace….and some time to devise a plan! Catch you all later!)