It is always a lot easier to teach a puppy the right things to do when they are young, but it is not impossible to eliminate the bad habits of an older dog.
The first step obviously is the need to make sure the dog understands that you are the master so you can gain it’s respect and then you can start the process of training the dog so that it no longer performs the unwanted actions.
It is important to address only one thing at a time and not try to change the way your dog responds to different things all at once. The way you will get an old dog to change is to show it that there is a better outcome from the new behavior pattern than the old one.
This is easiest to do if the dog learns that it will get a reward for making any behavioral changes. The clicker technique works well with old dogs and is not something that is restricted to the training of puppies alone. Be prepared for any training to take longer than it would if you were working with a puppy, however there are other benefits in that an older dog will generally have a longer attention span than a puppy and if you have had the dog for many years they will be more likely to want to please you.
Be assertive but always remain positive and encourage the dog to change.
Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book. This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.