You can teach any dog — yes, even an old one — new tricks. To do so you must recognize that just like people, dogs learn at different speeds, and that some breeds of dogs are able to learn more quickly than other breeds. The keys to successful training are patience and repetition.

Here are some suggestions to speed up your dog’s learning:

  • Make training sessions fun. A popular philosophy with many dog trainers is that happy dogs are easier to teach. This may be true because dogs are such social animals — they love to run, jump, and play. Owners who incorporate “”fun”” into their training sessions find that their dogs learn faster and retain more. So, how do you make training fun? One sure way is by turning training into a game. After all, who said training has to be so serious?
  • Use rewards and other positive reinforcement. Toys, food and enthusiasm will encourage him to do the tricks you teach. Run around, jump and play with him when he does a trick right.
  • Don’t force the issue. Remember that dogs get mentally tired, too. Know when your dog has had enough for one training session. Common indications are: he’s yawning, his ears and tail are drooping or he’s just plain uninterested. When your lessons don’t seem to hit home anymore, call it a day. Both of you can rest and resume when your dog is ready to learn some more.

You may notice that your dog may seem to have mastered a trick, then forget it altogether the following day. Don’t get discouraged. Continue to work with him patiently and consistently, and your dog will soon be learning tricks faster than you expect.

Posted in: Dog FAQs