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Are you in the process of training your dog?
It can be quite a challenge, and it may leave you feeling as though training your dog might be impossible.
You could also be trying to figure out whether your dog can be trained at the age they are.
Today, we are going to discuss at what age a dog cannot be trained anymore as well as when the best time to start training your dog is.
I will also tell you good options for what to train your dog and ways you can train them.
When Is the Best Time to Train My Dog?
There are times where your dog will be better at learning new tricks.
The younger your puppy is, the faster they will learn most of the time.
It is recommended to start working on basic obedience training as soon as your puppy has been able to acclimate into its new home.
Some basic commands that are important to learn would be ‘sit', ‘stay', and ‘down'.
Puppies are old enough to leave their mothers when they are eight weeks old. Even this young, you can start with puppy training.
Keep in mind, though, that your puppy is going to have a short attention span.
Some dogs learn quicker than others, but just remember to train every day and your puppy will catch on soon enough.
If you plan to take your puppy to an actual trainer, the organization you choose may have a certain age requirement before your puppy can begin their training.
However, most of the time, the younger your dog is, the better their training is going to go.
Do not worry too much, though. Many people have adopted their dogs later in life and been able to train them just as well.
When Is A Dog Too Old to Train?
You may have heard that old dogs just cannot be trained, but this is not true.
No matter how old a dog is, they can still be trained if they have the right incentive to learn.
Now, if your dog has arthritis and is in pain most of the time, they may be less willing to learn obedience that is painful to them.
Even ‘sit’ might not be comfortable for some older dogs, so you should make sure to keep their health in mind if you decide to train your older dog.
It is also important to understand that a dog’s mental health will also deteriorate as they age.
They might not have the best of memory and learning something new will be hard for them.
However, consistent training into old age can prevent your dog from suffering mentally.
Because all dogs are different, there is no way to pinpoint when they will be at an age where it is a struggle for them to learn new things.
Even so, most dogs are receptive to learning well into their old age. It takes longer to train them than it would a younger puppy.
You must be patient with your dog and practice with them often, but the reward of having a well-trained dog will be worth all the work that went into training your dog.
How Do I Train My Dog?
There are several ways that you can train your dog.
If you want your dog to have more specific training, you may consider taking your dog to a professional trainer to help you.
If you wanted your dog to be an emotional support dog, for example, you want your dog to do well in public places.
A professional trainer would be able to help you to get your dog to a point where they can do that.
If professional training is not a route that you would like to take, do not worry.
There are plenty of ways you can teach your dog on your own.
While it may be helpful to pick up a book or watch some training videos, I can give you a few tips on the best ways to train your dog.
To start, you want to give your dog a good incentive for learning.
Most dogs will do well with three different types of rewards. Some dogs are food motivated.
This just means you should have some delicious treats on hand when you train your dog.
Whenever your dog does something good during training, you praise them and give them their treat.
Some owners will use a clicker as well. You can use a training clicker by clicking it whenever your dog performs an action that you like.
You then praise them and give them their reward. Eventually, the click will be something that they register as being good.
If they hear the click, it means they did a good job. Some dogs are more play motivated.
This means rather than rewarding your dog with a treat, you can have their favorite toy on hand when you are training and reward them with a small amount of playtime.
For example, you might play tug-of-war with your dog for a little bit as a reward for sitting when you tell them to.
If your dog does not respond to either of these methods, they might just like attention as a reward.
Praise and a little bit of petting could be a wonderful incentive for them to continue learning what you want them to.
Once you have the incentive down to get your dog to enjoy training, you must be consistent.
Of course, your dog gets tired as much as you do, so it is better to have more training sessions that are shorter.
Instead of training your dog twice a week for two hours each time, it would be better for both of you to train every single day for thirty minutes.
Puppies especially will get distracted easily, and any longer than that could be extremely hard for them.
Watch your dog when you train. As their owner, you are more likely to be able to notice the signs that they might be getting tired.
When you notice these signs, that would be a good time for you to end the training session for the day.
Just remember, when it comes to training, consistency is key.
What Should I Train My Dog?
If you have a puppy, the first thing you will want for them is house training.
This essentially means your puppy knows that the bathroom is outside, and they know how to alert you when they need to go.
Take your puppy outside often so that they can go to the bathroom. If they make a mess indoors, you gently take them outside.
Of course, this only works if you catch them in the act.
You can put them outside so you can clean up their mess without any distraction, but it may be a good idea to have someone who can supervise your puppy when they are outside.
Once your dog knows not to go to the bathroom while in the house, you can work on some more basic obedience commands.
Many people will train their dog with their leash on, as it helps in making sure you can give your dog a little reminder of what they should be doing occasionally.
One command that would be good for your dog to know is ‘sit’.
If your dog is food motivated, you can draw them into a sit by keeping a treat close to your dog’s nose and moving it up and back.
Your dog will naturally try to follow the treat, and they will end up in a sit. While this may take a few tries, it is a great way to teach your dog this trick.
Once your dog knows ‘sit', this is a good time for your dog to also learn ‘stay'. You start by having your dog sit.
Then you use the ‘stay' command. Do not move away, and just keep your dog in their sit for a few seconds.
Immediately after a few seconds have passed, you praise your dog and reward them.
Once they understand the idea that they should remain sitting, you can wait for longer periods before rewarding your dog. You can also start trying to take a few steps away from them. Just always make sure you walk back to them and give them praise as well as their reward.