Dogs Settle With Age and Other Urban Myths

Not all urban myths are about scary escaped convicts with a hook instead of a hand, scratching outside the car door in Lover’s Lane. One of the biggest myths we hear most regularly is that dogs will settle down as they age. We have bad news for you – they don’t. (The hooked hand story isn’t true either, by the way. 😉) If dogs aren’t taught basic manners, or how to calm themselves, how could they possibly learn it on their own? We’ve worked with many dogs over 10 years old who come to us for training, because they still act like misbehaved rambunctious puppies. Most often, the owners have tried to solve the problem by exercising them, which helps to get their sillies out so they can fall asleep for a little while, but after they wake up it’s uncontrollable wiggles and unacceptable behaviour all over again. Some owners even over exercise their dogs, and that can have the opposite effect of what they want, energizing them too much, and they just can’t settle themselves. That’s because the solution isn’t about burning off energy, it’s about developing social skills. In order to do that, you first have to teach your dog that paying attention to you is a really good thing. Without having your dog’s attention you aren’t going to be able to train anything new. Here’s an exercise that will help. You will need some training treats to get started. Begin doing this at home first, so there are less distractions and you will both be more likely to have success.

  • Make sure you have treats with you, no matter where you are in the house
  • Every time your dog looks at you, give a happy loud “YES!”
  • Then give the treat

Consistency is a must. Every time you see your dog paying attention to you, reinforce it, which is why you need to have the treats with you all the time. And your happy praise-filled attitude too, of course. Keeping your dog’s attention is so important, because the more your dog looks to you, the less he or she will be looking at other things going on in the world around you, like other dogs or people, which usually trigger the behaviour issues. Plus, a dog that has his or her attention on you, especially at home, isn’t chewing on the table legs, the couch, the pillows, getting into the garbage…you get the picture. Now, when it comes to older dogs, the training may take longer to do, because they’ve been practicing the unwanted behaviours for a long time. That’s where a certified trainer can help you get faster, reliable, and long lasting results, and really it might be a necessity if you have a dog that’s become quite unruly. We often see that unruly behaviour come on quickly in dogs that are a year or two old. That’s when they enter into their “teenage” years. They go from being a well behaved puppy to an unmanageable and disruptive dog, and it seems like it happens over night. That’s a great time to see a trainer for a little help. Just make sure you use one who has positive training practices, because dogs learn a lot more quickly with positive training methods than they do with subversive training tactics. And positive methods feel better and are a lot more fun for everyone. At this point, if you’re thinking you have no idea when you could possibly fit training lessons into your already busy schedule, you might want to consider dogma’s day school. It’s WAY better than doggie daycare, because we train your dog for you! It’s so simple. You drop your dog off to dogma High, and we do the rest. It’s a day of fun-filled adventures, going through a variety of skills during the day. The end result is a happy, socialized, and well behaved dog, that you’ll be proud to take out and about with you.