Whether you’ve recently adopted an older doggie or you’re trying to catch up on what you’ve missed for years, you might have doubts about your dog’s ability to learn when they’re past their puppy years. That’s why you might ask “is it too late to train my dog after 2 years old?”
In the following article, you’ll find a deep guide that tackles the issue of training an older dog along with tips to follow while trying to get them on their best behaviors!
Training a 2-year-old dog might be a bit more difficult than a puppy. However, it’s never impossible or too late to train a 2-year-old dog. In fact, you can train a dog at just about any age if you’re consistent and determined enough.
Keep on reading if you’re looking for more details about training your old pooch and what you should expect while trying to correct their behaviors.
Can A Dog Be Trained At Any Age
While you might’ve heard about the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, you may actually be able to do so at just about any age.
Of course, it might be quite difficult to achieve, but it’s achievable nonetheless. Throughout the entire life of a dog, they’re always trying to figure out and follow the life patterns of their leader.
Also, keep in mind that dogs were selectively bred to boost their fellowship and obedience factor, whether they’re a pack in the wild or helping humans while herding.
Similar to humans, the younger the dog, the quicker and easier they’ll learn something. Despite that, both older humans and dogs have a decent capacity to learn just about anything after their “baby years”
In fact, there might be some perks of dealing with an older doggie. In addition to having any kind of basic commands that they know, older dogs have a better attention span than puppies.
This allows a dog to have a better understanding of what you want than a puppy. In other words, while they might not be better at learning, they have better communication, which is a crucial part of the success of any training.
[Related Article: How To Prevent Dog From Jumping Off Bed And Hurt Themselves]
What to Expect While Training a 2-Year-Old Dog
By the time any dog reaches the age of two, they reach a certain level of physical and emotional maturity that can actually make up for the declining capacity of learning.
However, if you’re training a much older dog, you have to be more patient and understand that they’re a lot less active and agile.
Training elderly dogs take a much longer time and it might never reach the level of perfection you might be looking for due to their health limitations.
But, the easier the training, the better the result, and the more you can expect from your old pooch.
The most difficult part is if your dog had some bad training when it was young. In that case, you’ll have to spend time “untraining” your doggie before you teach it your way.
Benefits Of Training An Adult Dog
You might be wondering: “is it worth it to train an adult dog, or I’m just wasting my time?”
One thing you should know is that it’s always beneficial to train your dog no matter how old it gets.
Here are some of the benefits you might get from even trying to train a 10-year-old dog:
- You’ll establish and grow a much stronger bond between you and the dog
- Dogs just appreciate any time you spend with them, so you’ll be making your dog happy
- The slightest of improvements in your dog’s behavior will make both your life easier
- Improves the level of communication, understanding, and compassion between you and your newly adopted dog
- A better-trained dog will have nicer habits that keep at a much better mental and physical condition
- After training, your dog will enjoy more freedom, reliability, and participation in your life
Older Dogs and Obedience
One of the things that drive people off from adopting an old dog is the lack of obedience. However, getting your dog to obey certain commands and learning words is one of the easiest things to train an old dog for.
As you already know, older dogs are more intelligent with a better attention span. They also might have been around humans enough to understand some basic words, such as “no”.
However, it’ll take more than just that. For instance, if you want an old dog to stop doing something, you need to also replace it with something else to do, or they won’t listen to you.
Since they’ll understand it easily, appreciating the small improvements they make with time will also help in speeding up the process a little by little.
[Related Article: What Is The Hardest Dog To Potty Train On Planet Earth]
How To Potty Train An Older Dog
Potty training is one of the most difficult parts to get right with an old dog. Unfortunately, it gets even more challenging if your dog has already established certain potty training that doesn’t suit your lifestyle.
For example, if the dog used to live in a neighborhood where it used to pee outside, but now you live in a city where this isn’t convenient anymore.
Keep in mind that old dogs might also have some bladder issues which hinders them from having proper potty training.
If your dog has never lived in a house before, crate training is one of the best ways that you can solve this issue. You can also try a strict potty schedule where you take them outside at specific times every day.
It’s also easy to teach an old dog to ring a bell whenever it wants to go outside for peeing, so you can try that if it suits you.
Retraining an Old Dog
If you’ve been around dogs quite enough, you’ll find a lot of people asking how to “retrain” their dogs to obey them. This happens due to multiple reasons and it can be fixed once the causing factor is gone.
Why An Older Dog Might Stop Listening To You
If your old dog starts ignoring your commands, make sure that you take them to a vet to check their ears. In many cases, this might be more of an auditory issue than a behavioral issue.
If your dog doesn’t have a medical problem that prompted this new issue, it might be due to your ways of dealing with them.
Fortunately, if your old dog has already been trained, it’s easy to retrain them with much less effort. Here are some reasons why a dog might stop listening to you at old age:
- You stopped rewarding them for their good behavior, so they think it’s unwanted anymore.
- You weren’t consistent with your training.
- Your dog isn’t having enough outdoor time.
- You’re not giving them enough time as you used to.
General Tips To Follow While Training An Older Dog
Now that you know that training your old dog is hard but not impossible, here are some valuable tips that will help you get satisfying results while training your old dog.
Consistency Is Key
If you want results, you have to be consistent with your training. This tip is applicable whether you’re training your dog on agility, obedience, or even potty training.
Always make sure that you spend enough time training your dog every day. It doesn’t have to be a long time, as 5 to 10 minutes might be enough, but it needs to be as consistent and repetitive as possible.
By following the same approach every time, you’ll benefit from the enhanced attention span of older dogs. Not to mention, it’s a great way to keep your dog entertained all day!
Don’t Go Too Harsh On Them
While consistency is crucial for a good result, too much repetition can tire your dog out, especially if you’re training them on agility.
Always remember that it’s not easy for your dog to learn new things, so going too harsh on them will only make your dog more aggressive and even stubborn.
If you’ve recently adopted an old dog, you should work on gaining their full trust rather than laying the groundwork for an unhealthy relationship between both of you.
Avoid any kind of cruelty or harshness while trying to get them to maintain good behavior. Remember, old dogs are smart enough to understand that you’re upset without aggression, so avoiding it would benefit both parties.
One Step At A Time
If your dogs have too many things to learn at any given time, it’ll just make them more confused and less eager to learn altogether. Try to go one step at a time while training your dog.
One Command, One Word
If your dog has already assigned a specific word for a command, don’t overuse the same word while giving them other commands.
Know Your Limits
To stay satisfied with what you’ve achieved with your dog, keep their physical and health limitations in mind while training them.
Encourage Them To Do Their Best
If you want your dog to improve quickly, you should always point them towards the right behavior by praising and rewarding them for it.
However, you shouldn’t always give them treats for every single time they do things right. Dogs also love praises and get really excited when you display your satisfaction with what they do.
Best Methods To Train An Older Dog
Luckily, there’s a wide variety of methods that you can use to help your 2 years or older dog to learn new tricks and obey commands. Here are some of the most successful methods for it.
“How to Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days” by Shirlee Kalstone is one of the best books that also put older dogs in mind while giving tips and instructions. The book is great if you want to potty train an older dog.
If you don’t have enough time or you’re looking for the best possible method to get the most out of your dog, you can try going for the private trainer options.
You can google the best private trainers near you or search on popular sites, such as Thumbtack to find the best dog trainers that are suitable for your budget and needs.
[Related Article: Is Private Dog Training Worth It And What Are the Alternatives]
There you have it. A complete guide that answers the popular question “is it too late to train my dog after 2 years?”
As you can see, you can teach an old dog a new trick. It might take more time and effort when compared to a puppy, but it’s not impossible by any means.
Make sure that you follow the previously mentioned training tips to help your dog make the most out of their training time!