Can Mature Dogs Learn New Tricks

Kelly Roper
Elderly dog

Can mature dogs learn new tricks. Two canines are about to go through major life changes. The question is, how well can they adapt?

Question: Can Mature Dogs Learn New Tricks?

I have a couple of three-year-old black Lab mix dogs, a brother and sister. They have always lived outside in a large enclosed area, and I have never leashed them when we went for walks. Now, they need to learn to be apartment dogs and walk on a leash, as well be trained in all manners, especially potty training.

Can I really teach two adult dogs new tricks? My living circumstances are changing, but I don't want to give up my dogs. Are there any books or DVD's you can recommend that I can purchase to help me? Any help or suggestions you have will be appreciated.

~~Tracy

Expert Reply

Hi Tracy,

It's always easier training dogs when they are younger and much more receptive, so you're going to have your work cut out for you. However, I believe you can make this work if you really try.

It sounds as though you're going to need a crash course in dog training yourself before you can begin teaching your dogs their new life skills.

First off, I recommend you read the following articles from this website:

There are plenty of resources listed on these topics to help you get started. I especially recommend the "Dummies" series of books. They break training down to the very basics so it's easy for owners to implement. I think you'll find House Training for Dummies, by Susan McCullough very useful. You should also check out My Dog Pulls. What Should I Do?, by Turid Rugaas for the leash training issues.

Make a list of the books you're interested in, and visit your local library first. This way you can preview the books, and then decide which ones are the most helpful before you make a purchase.

Once you've accomplished basic leash training, you'll probably find it easier to enroll the dogs in obedience classes rather than take on the training without any support. It would be better to put both dogs through the classes at the same time, but you can't work them both yourself. Perhaps you have another household member or friend who will be willing to train one of the dogs with you?

I believe this is enough information to get you started, but please visit us again when you need more help. One final word of advice; make sure any lease you sign specifically gives permission for you to keep both of your Labs.

Thanks for your question~~ Kelly

Can Mature Dogs Learn New Tricks