Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
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We adopted Anja, our eldest dog, at 5 years of age, from Oregon Humane Society. She was the longest resident at the shelter (at that particular time). Anja was labeled as having a high prey drive as well as many mysterious medical issues.The shelter enrolled Anja in the training program and labeled her as “dense” and “stubborn”. She would do a sit, 60% of the time, and 40%, would be her giving you a blank stare as if she had never heard the word before.
Right after adopting her, we taught her how to walk well on the leash. The Veterinarian labeled her as obese and in much need of exercise, so, having good leash manners, was of utmost importance. She caught on quick and learned not to pull, in a few weeks. We never chose to focus on trick training, because she didn’t seem interested
After she hit 9 years old, treats, and how she was going to get them, became one of her main daily focuses. She has learned to play dead, “leave-it” (we can put a treat on her paw and she leaves it), come when called, sit and stay, lie down, and spin around in a circle. All pretty good for a dog who had no interest before. Her favorite, high-value treats, are Stewarts Freeze Dried Liver Treats. There are a few other tricks we are working on, but I will save those for when she has perfected them.
To get accepted into the Good Dog Foundation’s therapy program she needed to learn the following: leave it, sit, lie down, puppy push-ups, and stay. The daily practice paid off because she is now a certified therapy dog!
Anja, loves her daily training time, as soon as she sees me getting the clicker out, her ears go up, and she runs into position. I love using the clicker and read this book, The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller, before embarking on a training routine. Pat Miller, does an exceptional job, at describing the techniques you will need, to get started with the clicker.
Performing daily training exercises with your dog, no matter how old they are, will strengthen your relationship and provide mental stimulation for your furry friend. Send us an email, if you want more details on The Good Dog Foundation and how to turn your dog into a certified therapy dog.