Post # 1
We have a 4 year old rescue pit mix who we love to death. He is usually pretty well behaved for us and he does well in boarding, but I get a bit nervous when we have friends over or we leave him at my in laws. We have had him for 2.5 years and never took him to obedience training, but I am starting to think it might do him some good.
Has anyone taken an adult dog to obedience training? What was your experience like–and did it “stick”? In our dog’s case, he is very eager to please but he is also pretty strong-willed.
Post # 3
Food! 99.9% of dogs are food motivated, no matter what the age. I taught one of our girls (as an adult) to sit, stay, come, heel (or stay with me, as I say) and speak with bits of cheese. She learned soooo fast. In less than an hour! My one piece of advice? NEVER teach your dog to speak. Just don’t do it. Sure, it’s cute…until she’s shouting at you over and over for your dinner.
My other hound is as dumb as a stump. A retired racer…She pretty much can only figure out she gets treats if she poops outside. We joke that she’s Josey’s dog. After all, Josey had awful separation anxiety until we got Bertie for her.
Post # 4
My dog was still a pup when we took him. But, I’d say that a good chunk of dogs in the class were older, so you will likely not be out of place. In fact, a lot of the older dogs were much better behaved in class. Mine, the puppy, was super excited the whole time, and I spent more time running in circles, etc. trying to keep him from barking than I ever did doing the exercises.
Anyway, you can train an older dog just fine — I never stopped training mine, and he’s four now. (We’re learning ‘Quiet’ at the moment, and still working at flipping out over bikes on our walks) It just takes lots of patience — but the same can be said for training a puppy.
Post # 5
@1313Mockingbird: Supposedly one of the good ways to train your dog not to bark is to train them to speak. I never tried that technique, though — your comment made me thankful.
Oh, and I shoud have seconded the food — I can get my dog to do almost anything, if the treat is good enough, once he learns to associate the command with the treat — even to stop chasing squirrels. He loves “come”. He knows he gets something FABULOUS when he does.
Post # 6
I took my adult dog (he was 3 at the time.) He did well. Kind of.
I’ve told this story a couple times here, but I’ll tell it again:
My dog is a German Shepherd. ~60/75lbs. During school, there was a tiny little dog (like a small Yorkie) that kept yapping in his face. Yap. Yap. Yap. Incessantly. So Quil bent down, picked up the dog in his mouth, and redeposited him elsewhere, then sat back down.
He didn’t hurt the dog at all (I really don’t even think he used his teeth) but I was mortified. I can’t believe we weren’t expelled.
Point being, if your dog misbehaves in school, they’ve probably seen it. It will stick if you stick with it. It’s not like you can teach it and they know it forever. If you do it dilligently during class, then stop, they’ll forget it, and it will be a waste of time and money.
Post # 7
We also rescued a 4yr old pitty from our shelter (aren’t they the best!) & got her into some obedience classes. She was okay before that but gets antsy & alpha-y when other pooches are around. She did amazing! I think she was nearly 6 yrs. old when we took her & there were mostly puppies in the class. She did great learning to focus on us, and us in turn to focus more on her. Even though we got very close to other dogs throughout the classes we never even got close to any incidents with her (although my neerves were shot after every class). Ours is very strong willed as well & I didn’t think the training would work on her but she LOVED it! My one advice is when training to give her super amazingly tasty treats. We tried training with her regular treats, then with fancy meat doggy treats but (as our trainer said) they’re not enough to capture her attention for very long. We started using hot dogs (pop em in the oven for 1/2 to an hour & they’re more a jerky texture), and she is on point in a second! I would highly recommend you take the classes, pitty’s seem to really want to please their owners you just need to show em how!
Post # 8
@BeckyS0: I’m so glad to read your response–your dog sounds a lot like ours! He is extremely strong willed but I know he wants to please us. He can just be extremely stubborn!
@1313Mockingbird: This has worked for us, we taught him all of his basic commands just with food as positive reinforcement. He can learn a trick in about 15 minutes, so I know he has it in him 🙂 I think we just may need a professional to help us with the situational stuff (like strangers at the door, etc).
Post # 9
We took our newly adopted puppy to traiing class, but there were older dogs at the training; we asked our trianer what is the the average age of the dogs in the majority of her classes and she said that it varied, she has had dogs as young as 4 mths (ours way about 5 mths when we started) and as old as 6 years….so I would say go ahead and take them to trianing…if nothing else it is very good for socialising your dogs.