The earlier dogs learn the most important educational principles, the fewer problems they will cause later in life. That much is certain. But what if your dog missed basic training as a puppy? Can you train adult dogs? How should you train adult dogs? If you want to know what to consider when training your adult dog keep reading!
Dogs learn for a lifetime
The good news: dogs learn all their lives. They never stop learning - just like us humans. Up to old age they can acquire commands, rules and certain behaviours - just as they are able to get used to undesirable behaviour patterns even as adult dogs. After all, the best basic training is of no use if you let the pubescent dog get away with everything later out of convenience. Instructions once taught must be maintained for a lifetime. A clear “stay” must not become a “please wait a moment” later.
Training Adult Dogs: Benefits
Of course, small dogs - just like children - often learn faster. They are easier to “shape” because they are extremely inquisitive, learn a lot in a playful way and still face the world with an open mind. This can be used in puppy training. On the other hand, puppies also have to learn basic behaviour first - no dog is born house-trained and no puppy will leave furniture and shoes alone if they have never heard a clear “no”. The training and socialization of a puppy therefore usually takes up more space than when you train adult dogs, which have usually already got used to living with humans.
So raising an adult dog can also have advantages. Older dogs tend to be calmer and more stable in their behaviour than young dogs. They are house-trained, can usually be left alone at times and have already got used to a more or less fixed daily rhythm of sleeping, eating and walking. Long walks with him are already possible and adult dogs need fewer breaks during exercises than playful puppies, who can quickly become overwhelmed.
What problems can occur?
If you want to train adult dogs, this can also have disadvantages. A disadvantage is usually that a certain behaviour has already established itself over months or years. If this is suddenly no longer desired, the dogs react stubbornly and insecure. Changing behaviour, once learned, demands a lot from the adult dog and therefore requires a lot of consistency and, above all, patience from the owner. So the question is not whether adult dogs can still be trained, but rather when they will put what they have learned into practice over the long term. An older dog can therefore be trained in the same way as a young dog - it can just take a little longer.
What is basic training for a dog?
Certain rules are necessary for the coexistence between dog and human to work. No other animal lives as closely with humans as the dog and no other animal is more "humanized" than our four-legged friend. It is often overlooked that the dog is descended from the wolf and, like the wolf, requires a certain order in its “pack”, which offers it security and orientation. Dogs need clear rules that are consistently adhered to. Any exception to these rules unsettles him and especially self-confident races are tempted to take the lead.
In order to avoid conflicts, your dog must master the basic commands such as "sit", "sit down", "off", "stand by" and "stay". He is not allowed to simply run into the street when you shout "Sit", he must not walk across the supermarket parking lot if you have ordered "Stay" and he must not chase after the neighbour's rabbit or bitch if you "Walk" have arranged. The following exercises are a basic framework that your dog should master and that will make not only your life easier, but also that of your dog and those around you.
The right training for adult dogs
It hardly matters whether your dog is a puppy or an adult dog that has so far only lacked education. Nonetheless, when you are training your dog, you should consider his or her age. While one can use the play instinct in puppies and learning and exercise phases should be kept short, more experienced dogs often need more incentives and challenges in order to readily learn new things. Adult dogs have already developed fixed preferences. The better you know your dog, the better you can use it for your education. Dog training works best through positive reinforcement. Knowing what your dog likes is a great way to reward him once he has shown the desired behaviour. Explore our selection of Training Treats here!