Dog Breed Info Center(R) DBIC

Old Dog New Tricks

Can an old dog learn new tricks?

A Yorkie laying down next to a sitting Boxer outside

The number one cause of death in dogs today is euthanasia. Why have so many dogs gone bad? A dog's temperament is a direct result of its owner’s ability to understand it and give it what it instinctually needs as a canine animal. There are no bad dogs... just uneducated owners.

So what has to change in order for your dog to change? You do. You must figure out what your dog is lacking and start providing it. A good place to start is by reading up on natural dog behavior, learning how a canine animal thinks, how to properly communicate with it and the instincts it has. Believing dogs have the same needs as humans is asking for behavior issues.

The most common things a dog lacks in the human to dog relationship are understanding, exercise and discipline.

A dog's behavioral issues can in almost all cases be traced back to something the owner is not providing for the animal. We humans love our dogs. They become our babies, but let’s face it folks, a dog is an animal. They think differently and have different needs.

It is never too late to turn a dog around. If the owners change, the dog certainly can change too, no matter how long the behaviors have gone on, no matter the age of the dog. Dogs live in the moment. They do not dwell on the past or future. They have old habits you may have to break, but dogs are much easier to change than humans.

When a human feels sorry for a dog because of something that happened in the past or something that is currently happening (illnesses included), it blocks the dog from getting over whatever issue it may be having. The best thing you can do for a rescue dog, or any other dog with issues, is to move forward yourself and not feel bad for what is or was. Dogs live in the moment, but if the owners are stuck in the past, stuck in the negative, it prevents the dog from moving forward. This can slow or prevent the progress of rehabilitating a rescue dog.

The vast majority of dogs in shelters are there because they had owners who did wrong by them. Yes, in most cases, the owners tried, but the lack of understanding of the canine animal is a worldwide epidemic. A dog can be a tyrant with one owner, but take the very same dog and give it to an owner who provides what the dog needs and you will have a completely different animal. This means there is hope for every dog locked up at a shelter. Hope it will be adopted by someone who understands them and is willing to put the time and effort into them. The sad thing is that a large percentage of shelter workers also lack the knowledge to fully understand dogs.

A Boxer and a Yorkie are laying next to each other on the ground outside

Keep in mind the more confident you are the more your dog will listen to you. Think mama or papa grizzly bear. Be calm but very firm. Do not laugh when correcting as laughing is a reward. Dogs know how you are feeling. You cannot hide it from them. It's a sense we humans do not have, or if we do it's nowhere near as strong as a dog’s. Dogs will also not listen to frustration, anger, fear, etc.

Don't let your dog down! Learn how dog psychology can help your dog be balanced and a true member of your family.

Written by Sharon Maguire© Dog Breed Info Center® All Rights Reserved