Many people assume that their dog is either too old or too young for training, but is this true? You may be surprised, but either way you look at it, the answer is neither!

Puppies begin their learning journey just a few days after they are born and by teaching themselves how and when to feed as well as how to play fight, they are already establishing their rank within the “puppy pack”.  Mom is constantly teaching and guiding them to mould them into her little followers! Starting clicker training, which is a fun and engaging experience for the whole family, can start the day you bring your puppy home!  The main advantage to training young is that the dog is less likely to develop bad habits such as counter surfing or separation anxiety if it has been given the proper “life skills” including lessons in house etiquette early on.  Crate training from day one is essential because not only does it play into the “den instinct” of your dog, it sets the tone right away for your relationship with them as well as provides them with their own little area where they can have space and be alone if they wish.  People are often surprised at how much down time their new puppy actually needs!  They will often sleep greater than 16 hours of the day and get exhausted from training and learning very quickly, so keep training sessions short and have that crate comfortable for nap time!

On the other end of the spectrum is the older dogs whose owners feel like there is no point in starting training now, because everyone knows of the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but this couldn’t be further from the truth!  Remember, the other saying that counteracts this is “it’s never to late to learn”!  No dog is too old to be shown leadership or to be trained in different, more direct ways that these dogs can relate to such as low-level E-Collar training.  Training recall or the place command to an older dog actually strengthens your relationship with them by providing them with the boundaries that many have been lacking for so long. This lack of boundaries and rules is often what leads to pushy, unruly behaviour to begin with.  Most of my clients don’t realize that by not saying NO via interrupting bad behaviour, they have been actually telling their adult dog that it is okay to jump up on people, become leash reactive, continuously bark at the neighbours, etc.   By taking the time to train to bring balance back to your older dog, you will naturally restore a calmness and respect that every dog (and owner!) deserves.

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