An older, graying dog smiles at the camera and looks peaceful.

Can You Really Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

As your dog ages, his needs will also change. One of the tender aspects of being a dog parent is watching your beloved companion undergo these physical and mental age-related changes. You can prepare for the side effects of dog aging by arming yourself with information, tips for mental stimulation, and guidance. Let’s take a look! 

Senior Dog: How Dog Age Impacts Cognitive Functioning 

Commonly, a senior dog may experience cognitive decline. A common age-related disease in older dogs is cognitive dysfunction syndrome. You may notice changes in their interaction patterns, activity levels, and overall behavior. 

Overall, this common degenerative disease may leave you wondering whether you can slow the progression through at-home interventions. 

The answer is an absolute yes, you can. Treatment may include a combination of a nutrient-rich senior dog food diet, regular exercise, mental stimulation through play and supplements. Typically, early intervention with these treatments may help improve the quality of your beloved senior canine’s life. 

Senior Dog Training: Mental Stimulation and More 

Many of you have heard the expression, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Contrary to old adage, you can (and should!) teach your senior dog tricks to keep them stimulated. Here are tips for teaching new tricks through dog aging. 

Adapt New Tricks

Adapt new tricks to any physical limitations that your dog may have. Muscle and joint disorders, like arthritis, may make certain activities uncomfortable for your dog. By adapting games or tricks within your older dog’s limits, you allow them to learn. 

Professional Dog Trainers

Consider professional dog trainers to accelerate dog training. The benefit of hiring a dog trainer is that lessons can be done in the comfort of your home. Another advantage is that a professional dog trainer can tailor the training to suit your dog. 

Training Tricks

Teach simple training tricks. You can still teach your senior dog cues, such as spinning in a circle, giving high fives, or backing up. Teaching a new trick is beneficial for the dog’s brain and a great way to build their confidence. 


Choose the right reward for motivation. As with all dogs, older dogs are receptive to positive reinforcement training. Choose high-quality treats to praise your dog in the initial steps of teaching a new trick. 

Maintain Consistency

Maintain consistency in training. According to professional dog trainer Erin Kramer, “Don’t change the rules, or else you will confuse your dog.” Of course, like with all new tricks or training, consistency will be key for your dog’s learning. 

How to Help Your Senior Dog Through Aging 

Above all, the best way to help your dog through aging is to schedule an appointment with your vet. The vet can help determine if any of the physical and mental changes in your dog result from underlying medical illness. Moreover, vet visits are important for routine screenings that will prolong your dog’s life through preventative care. 

Another important intervention that you can provide your senior dog with is comfort, extra love, and attention. That way, they can age gracefully through their golden years. 

After all, our canine companions show us unconditional love throughout the years. Reciprocating their love is one way that we can show our appreciation for them!

Dog Wellness for Your Aging Dog Through Get Joy 

All in all, caring for your senior dog can be made easy with the resources from Get Joy. It’s never too late to opt for better nutrition for your dog, regardless of age. Go the extra mile by supporting your dog with high-quality care. 

Need more support? One of our care team members is happy to help you!

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