Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
There's a popular saying: "You can't teach an old dogs new tricks." Luckily for you if you have a misbehaving elderly dog, that saying isn't true. Again, the reason many people think they can't train an old Aussie is because they don't know how to train an Aussie properly anyway, old or young. A lack of good information on the trainer's end is the problem, not the dog's ability to learn.
Be realistic about training your older dog. If you're starting obedience training when she's 10 years old, progress will be a little slow. But once she gets used to the whole process of learning, you can teach her new things just as quickly as a young dog.
Many of the problems you'll face with older dogs are not actually training issues – they're medical problems which cause bad behavior. Incontinence is a classic example, when an old dog will suddenly start going to the toilet in the house. It's not because she has forgotten her housetraining – it's more likely because she has lost physical control over her bowels or bladder. You should have an old dog checked by the vet at least every 6 months – the more frequently the better.
Also, be aware that, just like humans, dogs start to lose their senses as they age. Your dog is likely to start losing her hearing and eyesight if she lives longer than 12 or 13 years. Make sure you don't inadvertently sneak up on your dog – make loud noises so she knows when you're approaching. If she can't hear you and you constantly catch her off guard, she may become anxious.
Keep in mind that your dog losing her senses of hearing or sight doesn't mean the end of training. Even deaf dogs can still be trained – simply use a flashlight in the same way you'd use a clicker or a marker word. Replace voice commands with hand signals, and you have all the tools you need to carry on training. Getting old doesn't have to spell the end of bonding with your dog – in fact, it's a good time to make the bond between you even stronger.
Next time: Keeping Multiple Aussies in One House
Learn More About Everything in the
Guide To Australian Shepherd
Training & Care Ebook...