Teaching an Older Dog New Tricks

If you've adopted an adult Dachshund (see Chapter 5), he may already be housetrained, he may never bite or chew inappropriate things, he may not bark inappropriately, and he may know never to jump up on people. Or, more likely, he may need a little work on any or all of these areas.

Teaching an adult Dachshund is essentially the same as teaching a puppy. All the steps and methods that work for puppies work for adults, too. Some adults take longer to learn because they're changing old habits. Others learn much faster because they're more mature and have more life experience with humans than a pup. Maybe your adult dog used to be housetrained, got out of the habit, but will remember it quickly. Or maybe he's very eager to please you, so he tries extra hard to learn the rules.

In any case, don't assume that your adult Dachshund is untrain-able. You know that line about not being able to teach an old dog new tricks? Forget it. Old dogs are perfectly capable of learning good house manners.

If your adult Dachshund seems to be having severe problems with behavior, first call your vet to rule out a medical problem. Then consider hiring a professional trainer and/or an animal behaviorist or canine behavioral consultant. Your adult Dachshund may have experienced abuse or neglect in the past, or perhaps he's never been trained in any way. A professional can help you address his issues and resolve them in the Dachshund's best interests. Do everything you can to help your adult dog adjust happily to his new home so you can live together in peace. (See Chapters 12 and 14 for more on this topic.)

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