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Training an old dog II

My cousin has a 7 year old yellow lab (male) that he rescued from the pound when he was around two years old. The poor dog was abused and was really on edge for a while but has mellowed out since being with a loving family. He has taken him out to the duck blind once, did not see the results he was looking for, and dubbed the dog worthless for hunting and demoted him to family pet status. For years I have told him to work with him, but he wont. I will have a dog in the next couple of years, and thought this might be a good opportunity to hone my training skills on his dog, not to mention producing a quality bird dog. Bear is an excellent retriever (tennis balls), good swimmer, and could care less about gun noise. His downfalls are he is, for lack of a better word, a spaz, and doesn't seem to be interested in birds( at least that one time at the blind). He also will take off and not come back. I believe he is a spaz because he doesn't get much attention. I don't even think he has ever been taken for a walk. My basic plan of attack is in the beginning, start taking him for regular walks. I think that in time(a month or two?), this might mellow him out. After that, I would start with retrieving training. He knows how to sit and stay, so I know he knows how to learn. I myself have not ever trained a dog, so it would be a learning experience for both of us.

Now that you have is portfolio, do you feel it would be a waste of time training Bear? If not, I can use any pointers that you can give me. Thank you for your time. Stu

My congratulations to you on trying to show your cousins dog how to be a hunter. Without ever meeting Bear, I cannot say whether you will waste your time or not. Showing Bear extra attention and training can never be wrong. Your intentions are good so try it and if you see results great!! If not maybe Bear will be a well trained pet.

Jan Burkholder
Stonewall Dogs

For more information on training older dogs, try:
Training an old dog new tricks - Jan Burkholder
Too old to train? - Steve Harmeyer

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