Everyone has heard the old adage—you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

But All Dogs Unleashed is here to tell you that you absolutely can train older dogs. Dogs are lifelong learners that are typically very motivated to please. With the right attitude and approach, it is very possible to train an older dog to eliminate bad habits or even compensate for changes in health or environment. This is excellent news for folks looking to adopt older dogs instead of shopping for high-dollar, high-energy puppies. Here are a few reasons why training an older dog is definitely a good idea.

1. Training is mentally stimulating.

For dogs, frequent mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation. Dogs that are not mentally stimulated will be more likely to develop nervous or bored habits that can potentially become destructive. And for older dogs that cannot handle as much physical stimulation, mental stimulation is even more essential to maintaining health. As your dog ages, training can provide the much-needed mental stimulation to keep their mind sharp.

2. Training is a bonding experience.

Training is a great way to bond with your canine companion. This can be especially beneficial for dog owners adopting an older dog. Training is a way to build communication skills and trust with your dog. When you adopt an older dog, you often have no clue what kind of life they lived before arriving at your door. Training is a great way to build that bond while establishing rules and expectations. If your dog understands the boundaries, it will be more likely to feel comfortable around you and others in your household.

3. Dogs (generally) like having a job.

This is not true of all dogs (hello, French Bulldogs). But a large percentage of dogs were bred specifically for work. This is especially true of larger, more popular breeds like Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Collies, Huskies, and more. Many dogs want a job. Training is a way to give them that job. Even after the puppy years, dogs enjoy being of service. Training allows them to work on skills, achieve goals, and please their human in the process.

4. Training is an important safety measure.

Again, when you adopt an older or senior dog, you often have no clue what their life was like before they came to you. Many different scenarios can encourage bad or even dangerous behavior in dogs. Training your newly adopted older dog is a matter of safety. Especially if your dog is displaying behaviors like food guarding, aggression, or biting, you will need the expert advice of a trainer to work through the behavior. Training will help you avoid avoidable behavior issues and keep you, your dog, and everyone interacting with them safe.

5. A good dog is a well-loved dog.

A dog’s manners matter. A dog that constantly jumps, barks, begs, or is destructive can become a problematic presence in your home. Untrained dogs can be challenging to get along with because they have yet to be taught how to act. Just like children need to be taught manners, your dog needs to be trained on acceptable behavior in your home and outside. Older dogs that have not had any training may have some pretty bad manners. In order to create a harmonious environment for you and your pup, you need to work on training.

There are many benefits to training an older dog. ADU can help you determine a training approach that fits your dog and works towards your goals. Training is a great way to establish trust and connection with an older dog.