I was asked several times: “Is it true, that it is not possible to teach old dog new tricks?” My answer is – it depends on what is meant by the “trick”.
If we are considering obedience stuff like “sit”, “stay”, “down” or tricks like “fetching the beer” and so on… Then the saying is not based on reality. On the contrary – older dogs have a better attention span and they are not distracted so easily by the world around as they know the world already (of course, in case we socialized and habituated the dog correctly).
When we consider already created dog’s preferences like chewing habits, what to do when staying home alone, where to sleep or when to bark… Then the saying is also not completely correct. However, it is true, that it is easier with the puppy than with an older dog – for a simple reason – as we know, it is hard to break old habits. Both for us and for dogs.
Now we are getting to the area, where the saying is the closest to the truth – the temperament. Problems regarding fear, stress, and aggression are harder to solve with every new day.
To sum up:
training stuff – it is not true
education / behavioral stuff – it is more close to the truth, but not completely
temperament stuff – it is very close to the truth