View Full Version : Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks?

27th January 2009, 11:25 AM
Spurred on by Prince learning to properly play fetch recently I decided to see what else we could teach him. He is about 5 so not old just older :)

I got a book on training deaf dogs from DTI (he is hard of hearing although I dont think he is totally deaf). We worked on 'sit' last night, very repetitive and plenty of little treats to reward. Success level was moderate but we'll keep it up and see how he goes. He did sit every time but we sort of had to help him and then treat and repeat :p Glen got him to do it a couple of times with no treat, just praise and cuddles.

If anyone has any tips or advice on training an older dog, I would love to hear them. Hopefully we will be able to sign them both up for proper training classes soon enough.

27th January 2009, 11:30 AM
It's the same as training a younger dog. :) If you have a hard of hearing or deaf dog, then it is important to attach a hand signal to the verbal cues that the dog might not be hearing. But they do watch your face too so I always also give the verbal cue.

I taught Lucy at age 8 (and deaf) to sit, come, lie down, very quickly. If you use a higher level reward (eg small cubes of meat or cheese) they will work harder generally than for something dull like a bit of dry kibble. Remember to subtract training rewards from daily meals -- or don;t feed in the morning and instead have the dog 'earn' his meal through a training session. This adds motivation!

27th January 2009, 12:05 PM
Thats a good thing to remember to adjust the portion of food. Prince is good because he will eat apple as a treat. I actually hurt my hand at the weekend and I he saw me taking the treat out of the packet but I held it in my sore hand and he never once tried to get it off me which he normally would, as if he knew I was sore.

We were using the hand signals in the book as well as the command. We'll keep it up. He seems to respond well to being made work for things. When I play fetch with him I dont act as if he has my full attention, I will look away or do something else and he'll nudge the ball into my feet and bark to get me to throw it :p

27th January 2009, 12:46 PM
Mindy, who will be 11 next month started agility this past fall when our Retriever died. I had to teach (or reteach) her a few things. For instance, for her entire life she would sit in front of me - looking up at me as that is what I've always requested of her. I had to teach her to sit at my side for agility. Also, her stay wasn't very good because it has slipped over the years and we didn't use it a lot. Truthfully I'm amazed at how easily she still learns and how willing she is.

30th January 2009, 02:25 PM
is it possible to use treats to much? not in the to much food way but i know Peaches will always do something i ask of her for food but not always if she can't see a treat in my hand.

30th January 2009, 05:49 PM
Our Retriever (who I believe was the world's most stubborn dog) would only EVER do anything for a treat. Probably when he was a pup we used them for too long. I know the common thought is that you should use them when they are learning something and then wean them off slowly so it's like only every three times they do something etc.

Having said that I'll probably fail puppy class because I use treats too much with Max (it's only his kibble but still)! I can see if I don't wean him of he will end up wanting a treat for everything too.