Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks Even Dog Agility
“Life Learners” or “Life-long student” is a buzz phrase you hear thrown around when talking about people, but it also applies to our dogs. You don’t have to have a Harvard bound puppy for them to benefit from continued training. And the old adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has been disproved by so many shelter dogs! Why do we still believe it? In fact, these are the very dogs that can benefit the most from the bonding that occurs with training, especially dog agility.
Training starts the moment we begin interacting with our dogs and doesn’t end until they pass away. Everyday you are teaching your dog something positive or negative about the world they live in with you. Structured training may scare some people into thinking they are being dictators when in fact you are helping your dog learn to coexist in your world to their fullest potential. Regardless if you choose to compete with your dog, training classes build confidence in your dog as well as proper interaction with other people and dogs.
Playing with your dog is a form of bonding and training as well. Most dogs need to be taught how to retrieve, play tug, work brain games and the like. Herding, dog agility, obedience, earth dog and even freestyle are great ways to leverage your dogs natural talents making learning fun for everyone. Don’t be think you have to compete with your dog to get the full benefits from this training. Dog agility’s goal is to build a strong working relationship with your dog while promoting confidence and great exercise for both dog and handler.
Older dogs may need to take things slower due to health concerns, but they can and will thrive on any activity that includes you. Don’t buy into the lie that your dog is too old to learn new tricks. If you still enjoy having fun, your dog will too. And we all need to get out and enjoy the fresh air and exercise, so make learning fun for you and your dog in whatever activity you want to share.