You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?
There are more or less favorable
ages for training a dog. Very young puppies are
preoccupied with discovering their environment,
but they are never too young to learn the basics.
In general, puppies under 6 months will benefit
greatly from their experiences with their brothers,
sisters, and mother. This is when they learn the
elementary “social graces”.
While they are learning from their
siblings, you can take this time to teach the most
basic element of training, trust. They are too young
to concentrate on formal lessons, but they can acquire
an understanding of your expressions of pleasure
and displeasure through sights and sounds as you
grow closer together. This is more of a time to
bond, but they are always learning, and you can
help the process along.
Most training schools and classes
will not accept canine students less than 6 months
of age, due to the teething process, another distraction.
Also during adolescence, dogs, like children, tend
to resist authority. Again while formal training
may not be possible, you can still work with your
dog and help him get through this difficult time.
Generally speaking, you can start
to give a dog formal training with the best chances
of success between the ages of 12 and 18 months.
Small breeds and females, who mature earlier, can
start sooner than large male dogs. Working dogs,
such as guard or guide dogs are never trained before
the age of 1 or 1 ½ years, while hunting
dogs are taken out with well-trained older dogs
when they are 4 or 5 months old.
There is no maximum age for starting
to train a dog. You can teach an old dog new tricks
as long as he lives. One of the best obedience competitors
in history was a Dalmatian who started training
at the age of twelve. The principle handicaps in
training unschooled adult dogs are the need for
unlearning bad habits, and the greater length of
time it usually takes to establish the basic learning
process in his undisciplined brain