Dog Training Advice for Senior Dogs

Dog training advice for senior dogs will depend as much on the dog's age as on his training history. Teaching an old dog new commands is easier than making him forget old habits.

House Training Tips for Senior Dogs

You might want to paper train a senior dog that has been previously trained to go outside to eliminate, because senior dogs are more likely to eliminate more frequently. A senior dog is easier to house train than a young puppy because he has a larger bladder and better control of it. After making sure there are no health problems such as diarrhea or incontinence, you can start the training.

Teach the dog the right spot for eliminating urine or feces by taking him there after each meal, when he wakes up in the morning, before sleep and after each play session. Praise and reward the dog each time he eliminates in the right place. A clicker might be used, although praising can be enough. If you use a clicker, first associate the click with a treat, then proceed to the actual training. Do not punish the dog for mistakes, just clean the spot and withhold the reward.

Obedience Training Tips for Senior Dogs

Although methods such as a training collar are said to work well, a more modern approach is training through reward. If you choose to give treats, make sure they are low in fat and in accordance with the diet your veterinarian approves. Clicker training can help avoid giving too many treats, because once the sound is associated with a pleasant reward, you do not need to always follow the click with a treat. Petting, verbal praise or toys are rewards you can also successfully use in the training.

Crate Training Tips for Senior Dogs

If your senior dog has never been in a crate before, the most important thing is to give him time to adjust. Start by making the crate as comfortable as possible; put a rug inside, pillows, blankets and maybe some toys. Make sure the crate is large enough for the dog to stand up and turn, but not too large, because this might tempt him to soil the crate. At first let the dog stay inside the crate without closing it, and then gradually close it for short times. Keep the dog in the crate for short random times during the day, making sure he is not left alone in the room, so that he doesn't associate the crate with being alone.

Retraining Senior Dogs

Retraining a senior dog in order to get rid of bad habits will be a challenge. While one month of daily short sessions will be enough for teaching him new things, you will need more time and determination for retraining. Still, it is important to keep in mind that you have to have patience.

It might be helpful for both you and your dog if you concentrated on the new behavior you want to impose rather than on the old bad habit. This means less punishment and more rewards and praising.