Can you train an Older Rescue Dog? | Pupdate

Can you train an Older Rescue Dog? | Pupdate

There is definitely no truth in the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Daisy was 7 when we adopted her and she came without any training as far as we knew, fresh off the boat (sic) and new to the UK.

We worked on her toilet training ourselves but as Daisy had no recall or other “tricks” we decided to enroll her in some dog training.

We chose the Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze Award, which was taught at a local training and doggy play centre that we had been to for off-lead play. It was £80 to enrol in the 8 week course and we started mid February.

Our group started off with 10 participants and ended up with about 6. As it’s a beginners award, it’s really aimed at younger dogs, but there is no restriction either way. Our Daisy was the oldest dog by quite some way, but it really didn’t make any difference.

Each week we attended we were given different games to play with Daisy to first train her to pay more attention to us and then to turn that into commands and instructions for her to obey. We were taught:

  • Recall (having your dog coming back to you when you call)
  • Choice Games (making your dog look at you before they get a treat)
  • Control at Gate (making your dog sit whilst you open a door or gate, wait whilst you go through it. Calling them through on command and then sit again on the other side whilst you close the gate).
  • Stays
  • Making your dog is being handled and inspected
  • Making sure your dog is ok when having their microchipped checked

I have to say, I loved going each week and Daisy became just the waggiest of dogs whilst we were there as all of the exercises are rewards with treats. Daisy simply LOVES a treat and so would focus all her attention on us just in case any food was coming her way.

Our test was on Wednesday and I am pleased to tell you that we PASSED. It’s funny though, on the night, the one test I wasn’t worried about (recall), was the only one that didn’t go perfectly. 😳

When we are out on a regular walk, Daisy comes back to me 100% of the time, first time. But the week before the walk, she’d been hesitant coming back to M, but this didn’t make me worry too much as most of the time she’s as good as gold.

However, on the test, she was restrained by the tester, I walked away and then I shouted her. She started to run towards me but then stopped in her tracks when she sniffed something amazing on the floor. I couldn’t believe it. However I shouted her again and she did keep coming to me. Phew.

I think the experience of going to training has helped give Daisy so much confidence! On her 1st week she hugged the wall of the training room in fear and by the end she was greeting all the other dogs like long lost friends.

So if your dog is new to you and/or you are new to dogs, I can really recommend taking your dog to training. It’s helped us bond even more with Daisy, it’s improved her confidence and sociability and an added bonus, is that, the day after training is sleeps most of the day… tired but very happy. What more could we ask??

G x

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