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Can't teach a old dog....is it true?

(10 Posts)
SkipToTheEnd Sat 04-Jun-11 09:20:11

I might be getting my mums dog as she is finding it very hard to cope with her. My mum is disabled and in poor health just now.

She's 4 years old, cross staffie and collie mix - quite small compared to the other pups from the same litter.

She is very hectic though - had no type of training at all. She jumps up, barks etc

She toilets on paper as my mum lives in a flat with a separated garden and can't take her out.

She never gets walked sad

She is the most affectionate dog ever and I'd hate to see her go from the family but equally, I know she needs a better home. She is good with my DC (10 and 2)

I live in a flat with no garden but would walk her to the many local parks / gardens daily.

Am I mad to be considering it? Can I train her to use our walks to go to the toilet? How many times a day would I have to take her out for the toilet? Is it unfair to keep her in a flat with no garden? She is very used to just sitting around the house all day?

Is there a good site / book / programme etc for training dogs?

minimu1 Sat 04-Jun-11 09:44:05

Teaching old dogs new tricks is very easy. 4 by the way is young and she will be up for learning. Positive training methods work for all dogs and she will love to be made to think.

I am unsure re the garden but if you are prepared to go out regularly with her for wees and poos then doable I guess. But not something I would consider. It does though sound better than the situation she is in.

Bast Sat 04-Jun-11 13:01:16

I had a friend with a staffie in a flat and she was a very content girl. She was taken out regularly for toileting (and had a command to let her know to 'go now' if she needed to) and walked lots throughout the day too. She was adopted and four when she arrived but with patience, still learned a different way of doing things.

I have a rescue collie cross with no training and she's picking everything up very quickly, loving learning and loving having something to think about.

SkipToTheEnd Sat 04-Jun-11 14:11:41

Thanks for the replies smile

I know shes not old really and she's very excitable so if I can focus that on learning I'm sure she'll pick stuff up.

I'm going to give it some serious though and am willing to put in the effort needed with her as she is just lovely.

Her dad was staffie but she only really looks staffie from the back end.

I'm hesitating most about the lack of garden but I know we'll only be in here for 18 months max and our next place will have a garden. We are ground floor so I won't have to worry about stairs.

herladyship Sat 04-Jun-11 18:46:00

our 8 and a 1/2 year old crossbreed terrier has learnt more in the last year than she did in the previous 6 years that we owned her! mainly because i found a good trainer and completely re-thought our approach based on his advice.

maybe the jumping up and barking are related to the lack of exercise/stimulation she is currently getting? our dog did both of these when we first got her but the jumping up was very easy to stop, barking is taking longer forever and i think she may now be as quiet as she is ever going to get... but then she IS a terrier grin and only really barks when she sees other dogs playfighting off lead or if she is VERY excited.

were you thinking of getting a dog anyway? or are you really only taking her to help your mum? the reason i ask is because in my experience you have to really be committed to owning a dog, as that is what gets you through the inevitable 'bad' days

SkipToTheEnd Sat 04-Jun-11 20:40:18

Thanks Herladyship.

I have wanted a dog for a while but was planning to wait until after we moved as I felt the lack of garden was an issue. I think there is obviously an element of wanting to help out my mum and also keeping her in the family too as she is loved.

I guess I would find a trainer to start with then.

Does anyone know how often she would need to be walked for toileting?

Ephiny Sun 05-Jun-11 09:10:28

Yes of course you can train an older dog! Our rescue dog came to us at 5 years old, and to be fair he had been toilet trained in his previous home, and knew sit and down, but we had to teach him a lot of basics like walking on the lead without pulling, recall, leave, stay etc, and get him out of some bad habits like mouthing when excited. And collies are usually very intelligent, very trainable dogs, she should pick things up quickly.

For the toileting, I suppose it depends on the dog and what you feed them/how much they drink, ours usually needs to 'go' about 4 or 5 times a day, so approximately first thing in the morning, lunchtime, mid/late-afternoon and last thing before bed. I know several people who have dogs in flats with no garden, it's not ideal but can certainly be done.

CalamityKate Sun 05-Jun-11 15:13:28

I got my older dog when she was 7.

She's learned loads, and older dogs tend to have a better attention/concentration span than puppies.

No reason why this dog can't learn everything you want her to smile

chickchickchicken Sun 05-Jun-11 19:50:53

i would recommend that as soon as possible you contact cinnamon trust and papas and find out if either have volunteer dog walkers in your area. it is unfair on the dog not to go out on walks every single day and providing volunteers are available this could be set up quickly. it can easily be stopped if dog comes to live with you

4 is young. my 14yr old still loves learning, although at a much gentler pace.

it is doable to live in a flat and have a dog but will be extra work for you especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night when dog will need to be taken out for toilet instead of just let out into the garden. think about when its cold and raining and if you still dont mind going out then no reason why you cant have dog and live in a flat. if you would always need to take 2yo with you think about when you are tired and its peeing it down but dog needs to go out!

toiletting would probably be about 5 times a day. this would vary if dog had an upset tummy, had eaten or drunk extra. a good quality food will cut down on the amount of poos though dog would still need a wee throughout the day.

LetThereBeCupcakes Wed 08-Jun-11 18:32:36

The saying probably comes from when trainers used very harsh methods to train - after a couple of years dogs tended to refuse to do anything out of fear of punishment. These days most of us use positive training methods so it really doesn't apply. In my class I have a 9-year old who has just overcome his food guarding problem (it only took his owner a week when she knew how), and a 10-year old who is learning to walk to heel for the first time.
Find yourself a good local trainer - somebody who uses reward based training. Check the APDT website, or let us know the area and perhaps somebody can give you a recomendation.
We were in a flat when we got our dog, it wasn't really a problem.
Best of luck with her - I'm sure she'll be a lovely dog smile

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