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You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks...Or Can You?

Training your dog can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your dog. It encourages bonding, communication, exercise, and good old-fashioned fun! But how do you teach your dog tricks, especially if it's an older dog that is perhaps a bit stuck in their ways? Turns out, it's easier than you think! Simply follow the same procedure as you would with a puppy, just be prepared to spend a bit more time practising their new skill! The more time, effort, and enthusiasm you dedicate to training your dog, the better (and potentially faster) the reward for both of you!

While training your dog to sit and stay are generally the best skills to teach first because they encourage a healthy working relationship between you and your dog as well as make for an easy transition into other tricks you want them to learn, once they've mastered those two, it can be fun to teach your dog some new tricks for the sheer joy of spending time together. Here are some generally easy-to-master tricks you can try with your dog:

Training Your Dog to Shake – Once your dog can sit and stay, it's relatively easy to train your dog to shake hands. All you need to go is capture your dog's attention, show your dog a treat in one hand, then close your hand so they can't see it. Say “shake” and let your dog be interested in trying to get the treat by sniffing and then pawing at your hand (wave your closed fist under their nose to encourage them if needed). As soon as your dog begins to paw at your closed fist to get at the treat, say “good” (or click your clicker) and open your hand, giving your dog their well-earned treat. Practice a few times a day, slowly fading out the use of the treat by offering your dog a treat from your non-closed hand when they extend their paw, then swapping which treat has the hidden treat and which one you offer the treat from, then offering no treat with the 'shake' command.

Training Your Dog to Wave – After your dog can shake on command, teaching your dog to wave is simple, too. Give your dog the 'shake' command but once they lift their paw, raise your hand higher so they have to raise theirs to meet it. Once they do this, say “good” (or click your clicker), and give them a treat. Repeat again and again raising your hand higher and higher until your dog raises their paw higher than their head. Once they do this, say “shake” and raise your hand high. Once your dog begins to move, say “wave” and let them compete the action, then say “good” and give them the treat, as usual. Repeat this until you can eliminate the 'shake' part at the beginning, then slowly phase out the use of a treat.

Training Your Dog to Give Kisses – This trick works best with peanut butter as a treat, smeared onto wherever you're hoping to train your dog to give kisses. Say “kiss” and lean towards your dog and let them lick the peanut butter off. Do this repeatedly, slowly phasing out the use of peanut butter. As simple as that!

Training Your Dog to Roll Over – Start with the “lay down” command. Once they have done that, dangle a treat at the tip of your dog's nose, then drag it towards their shoulder so your dog has to turn their head to follow it. Once they do that repeatedly, keep slowly moving the treat so your dog has to lay on their side to follow it, then farther so that they roll completely. Once they do this, give them praise (or click your clicker) and give them the treat. Keep in mind that this trick requires quite a bit of patience, since most dogs will get distracted, wiggle, or stand up before they roll. This is perfectly normal, just keep practising and, if necessary, refuse treats until each part of the head turn/roll is executed well. Only once your dog is consistently rolling over with a treat offered should you add in the “roll over” command. Then, slowly phase out the treat and you've successfully mastered a difficult trick for dogs, both old and new alike!

If you're having a hard time training your dog and could use some extra help or even some reinforcement during normal doggy daycare times, don't be afraid to ask us here at Paws Doggy Daycare in Estepona! Our dog-loving staff would be thrilled to help reinforce any good behaviour you're working towards at home, even the unnecessary but fun ones! And don't let the fun stop there! Give your pup a real treat with an exciting day trip to the Paws facilities where they can romp, jump, play, and socialise to their heart's content so they can come home tail-waggingly happy and tired from all the fun! And if your dog has been really good, why not spoil them a bit with an overnight stay at our doggy hotel where they get all the attention as our doggy day care with a plush in-home and made-for-dogs hotel room to rest up at night so they can do it all again the next day? A few nights with us, a handful of their special treats, and lots of practice learning new tricks to show off once they go home sounds like a perfect doggy getaway, don't you think?

Send us a message at or give us a call at +34 625 847 779 today to reserve your pup's place at Paws!

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