Obedience Training for Older Dogs

While it's generally true that obedience training for dogs should be started as early on in the dog's life as possible in order to be most effective, there is still hope for pets that have not received adequate obedience training by the time they reach adulthood. However, be prepared to face a much more difficult time; it's easier to form good behavior habits in a pet by training him early on in his life than to break bad habits that he has had months or even years to reinforce through negative behavior. Follow the procedures outlined below to work on behavior and obedience training for your older dog.

Purchase Proper Equipment

In order to train your pet to be obedient, you'll need the appropriate equipment to do so. The two most important items that you'll need are a collar and a leash. The leash should be relatively short with a firm handle that you can easily grasp onto and hold on to if your pet should become feisty or run away from you.

The collar is also very important. There are a few types of collars that will generally work for obedience training. Of these, the choke collar is typically deemed to be the best; if the dog pulls to hard on it, the collar constricts slightly around his neck, acting as a natural deterrent. For larger dogs, a pinch collar is a better choice given overall health concerns. This collar slightly pinches the dog if he pulls too hard on it as well.

Work in Isolation

Begin your obedience training by starting with the most basic setup and scenario that you can. The less that your dog is distracted as he begins his training, the better that you'll be able to communicate with him. Start out by working in your home with all other pets and people out of sight. Gradually add in distractions to his scenario as he develops; this can be other people, other pets and more. Eventually, continue his training outside where there are a number of other things going on. Always demand the full attention of your pet, and if he is unable to give it to you, return to an area with fewer distractions.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is always helpful in encouraging proper obedience in dogs. This can be in the form of treats or verbally, and should always also include a pet or some other physical contact. Be careful that your dog doesn't become too reliant on treats in order to behave; you may find that it's then hard to get him to listen to you if you don't have food handy. Mix rewards to keep your pet from becoming too used to any one form of positive reinforcement.

For more information about how to properly train your dog, regardless of his age, it's a good idea to speak with either a veterinarian in your area or a professional obedience trainer.