While the notion isn’t true that an old dog can’t learn new tricks, it is important to start a dog with the basics of training as soon as possible. Even though an 8 week old puppy might not be able to learn how to sit and stay, it can begin learning its name and how to come when called. Here, the problem with leaving dog training until the dog is older will be discussed.
Just like children, dogs will learn best when they are young and their brains are more malleable. If you delay learning, your pet may become set in his or her ways. Additionally, the longer you wait to begin the training process, the more likely you are to procrastinate. For both dog and human, it is best to get started right away.
Development of Bad Habits
When dog training is delayed, your dog will develop bad habits. For instance, if you have allowed your dog to jump on you for the first year or two of its life, you will have difficulty breaking this habit in the future, because jumping has already been reinforced. If you begin your dog’s training early, you will never have to worry about overcoming behavioral problems later in life.
Communication Will Be Better After Training
A major benefit of obedience training is that you and your dog will develop better communication skills. For many pet owners and their pets, the difference in communication following obedience is like night and day. Delaying dog training will prevent humans from better communicating with their pets, leading to frustration and behavioral problems. The sooner that a human learns how to best communicate with his or her pet the better.
Older Dogs Will be More Stubborn
Finally, older dogs are simply more difficult to train in most instances, especially when they have lived with the same family their entire lives. There is little incentive for older dogs to change their behavior, although it can be done with plenty of love, patience, and high-value treats!
Ultimately, dog training should begin the moment you bring your new dog home, regardless of his or her age. Even if your dog is too young to begin full obedience training, he or she can begin learning the rules of your home and the basic foundational skills for advanced learning. However, if you have waited to begin your dog’s training – don’t fret! Simply be consistent with your pet once the training has begun, and do not bend the rules once you have enforced them. Always reward your dog for a job well done, which is especially easy if your dog is food, toy, or praise motivated.