Despite the numbers of individuals who would proclaim this decree to be solid truth, they are here to tell you that it nowhere near the being an correct description of the truth.
Common knowledge & wisecrack tells a individual that elderly canines are incapable of learning new behaviors as is often bespoken in the adage, “you can’t teach an elderly dog new tricks”.
The first step in training an older dog is recalling that this dog has, most likely, already been trained one time, be it properly or improperly. The older dog already has preconceived notions as to what acceptable behaviors are & what behaviors are not welcome. In the event you need to alter of these behaviors you need to reprogram the canines thinking process.
While it is a bit more difficult for an older dog to be trained, it is entirely within the realm of possibility if makes use of patience & remains consistent in the dog’s lessons throughout the process.
So how would they handle this situation?
For example, a farm dog may have been trained to protect the barnyard & chase stray animals & predators away from the barn. Regrettably, the dog now lives in your town house & thinks your cat is its mortal enemy. They must reprogram the canines thinking to make it understand that chasing the cat is not acceptable.
To start, make sure that the cat will be safe by placing the cat in a pet carrier or some other sturdy structure that prohibits the dog from actually physically contacting the animal but still allows for both animals to see, smell & listen to each other.
This provides a way for both animals to acclimate to each other in a safe, though possibly a bit stressful, situation. This tiny step teaches the dog & cat that both are going to have a presence in the house.
After the animals have both calmed a bit give them each a tiny reward, such as a piece of kibble. Be sure to give the dog plenty of verbal praise & affection when it is not barking or trying to get to the cat as this reinforces his lovely behavior. These rewards are important in teaching older canines as they help to retrain their minds that this behavior is lovely & is rewarded, thus making them need to repeat the behavior.