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i know i know the answer to this, but something someone said to me the other day has been eating at me and i need someone else to tell me to quit worrying.

we had some friends we dont see very often over the other day and this was the first time they had been to the house since we got Guinness. everything was going fine but later in the evening one of our guests brought food into the living room and sat down. i admit that guinness has some bad habits, and we are constantly working on them, but nothing happens overnight. anyways, one of his "bad" habits is that if you have food, he will get real close to your face and intensely stare at you and the food. the guest said, "so i guess you didnt train him to not beg for food." i said we are working on it and called guinness over to me and played with him to keep him distracted. the guest then said, "well, you better hurry up. dobermans are really hard to train after they are much older than a year."

now, i know this is ridiculous, but i have a long and lustrious history of doubting myself. i need someone to tell me i dont need to worry about this.
 

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IMO, they are never too old to learn something new. And certainly not one that is only 1 year old. Training is a lifetime adventure. So continuing training and both you and Gruinness will have more confidence.
 

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Dogs are never too old to train. Older dogs can be harder to train though. The reason is because sometimes you are not just training, what you are doing is actually re-training. Dogs do not go through life empty headed. Whether you train them or not, they learn stuff each and every day. Problem is that if you aren’t teaching them the behavior you want, they may be learning things you don’t want them to.

See, if the dog has already learned a behavior, now you have to replace that behavior with a different one. Obviously, that will be more time consuming (and frustrating) than just working with a blank slate.

I suspect the old adage of “you can’t teach an old dog a new trick” was started by people who lacked the skill or patience to un-train old behaviors and replace them with new ones.
 

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In 1991, I pulled a 9-year-old female Dobe off the streets. It was obvious she'd been a "yard dog". Within a matter of a few months, she was house-trained and learned basic obedience. And the only reason it took her that long was because she first had to recover from serious starvation and sarcoptic mange.

I once read that as long as a dog has its vision and hearing, it can be trained (or retrained) no matter how old it is. A dog with vision, hearing or mobility problems/deficits may take longer to train, but it's due to its handicaps, and not because age makes its brain incapable of learning.

The old saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" is flat-out wrong and does dogs a great disservice.

Just a few random opinions and thanks for reading them.:wavey:

ETA: Or basically, what adhahn said! :D
 

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I adopted my two Dobermans at 2 years and 3 years old. My first boy went through two homes before I had him, so he had plenty of time to learn bad habits. But by age 3, he was helping me carry groceries in and on his way to a CGC (a hard task for him because he was very dog aggressive). It is re-training, but Dobes are smart dogs who are more than capable of learning what you want them to do. I haven't had any trouble with re-training my guys. And when I worked with service dogs, we'd take 8 months to year and a half old shelter dogs to train for service dogs for people.

You have to be patient, show the dog what you want, and reinforce it when he does it right. Age has nothing to do with a dog's learning capabilities.
 

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Two best behaved, best trained dobes I ever had came to me as adults (4 and 2). They didn't come with "manners", Leo walked into our house and immediately peed on the door during his home check visit, he is now a delight and CGC/TDI perfect doberboy. I think teaching an older dog is actually EASIER. They have an attention span, they actually THINK things through, they want to work for you.

I hate the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". I think it would be "you can't teach a puppy a new trick in a day, but you can teach an old dog that fast". Julian, who we raised from a pup, was a brilliant dog. Knew dozens of "party tricks". Learned most of them after the age of 5.
 

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Next time, when friends are over to eat:
- put your dog on the couch for example (or crate), and make it stay there
- tell your guests, your dog gets their last bite / then the dogs wait, is not so bad
That's the rule in our house.
 

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Such hogwash! I've trained young and old Dobermans--those that came with lots of baggage took longer to train but they all got trained. My first Agility dog was a bench Champion, had his RE and CD, was a ROM and was trained for tracking at TDX levels and I never certified him so he never got any tracking titles (for which I should be soundly beaten) when a friend of mine asked if she could take him to a set of agility classes that she had intended to put a dog of hers in. That dog had an unfortunate accident and fractured his pelvis in four places so was out of training for months while that healed and he went through rehab. So my dog who really hadn't done anything except track for almost three years went off to learn agility. He was 6-1/2--in six months he had NADAC titles and when we retired him at nearly nine he had a bunch of AKC titles in agility.

A friend of mine got in an argument with her husband about training old dogs and pulled her nine year old therapy Doberman off the couch and had her CD in six months.

Don't tell me you can't train old dogs.

I agree with the people who said they are often easier than young dogs--they do have attention spans and often are much more willing to work than the younger dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Next time, when friends are over to eat:
- put your dog on the couch for example (or crate), and make it stay there
- tell your guests, your dog gets their last bite / then the dogs wait, is not so bad
That's the rule in our house.

now that sounds like a excellent idea!

thanks for all the replies. i appreciate it. like i said, i have a bad habit of letting "know it all" type comments gnaw at me until i start doubting things i know.

again, thanks everybody
 

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No dog is too old to learn. Simon is almost nine and we adopted him about seven months ago. He had NO prior training. He is learning quite a few new things, though I will say that he can be a little slow. However, once he gets it, he really gets it! He's very eager to please so as soon as he figures out what I want he is very reliable.

As long as you're working with him, I wouldn't be worried. I do crate my dogs when guests are over and we're eating, just because both can be a little obnoxious. Nothing terrible when it's just us at home, but I don't subject guests to the stare/drool :)
 

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I would never say a dog is to old to start learning obedience, lets face it Doberman's are incredibly intelligent dogs and really wouldn't take long to whip (not literally) shape.

Odin is just over 20mths old and we only started his training classes earlier this year due to money being needed elsewhere, however I did my own research and tried my hardest to teach him correct manners.

Determination goes a long way with training any dog, if you are consistent with what you want him to do he will do it!
 

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We adopted Ruby when she was probably 3 or 4, no manners, no training. She got her CD when she was 5 or 6.

If an adult Sibe can be taught, any dog can be taught. ;)
 
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We enjoy Amy's company - she is usually where the human food is...lol
- I loaded this photo a few days ago, but the DT site was having glitch problems

Here Amy is enjoying a roasted pumpkin seed, laying on the kitchen floor mat:

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
 

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Porsche is 9 and still capable of learning new things. It is the owners who have to keep putting the effort to the outcome they want from their dog.

Porsche loves carrots, so when we are eating them while watching TV you can be sure to see her beautiful snout poking around begging for some :)
 
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