My German Shepherd is 11 years old. Is it too late to put him back through obedience school? It’s been at least eight or nine years since he’s attended.
Great question. Absolutely! You and your dog can enjoy attending obedience classes together. It’s important to know that dogs very often have to deal with some degree of cognitive degeneration, just as we do, along with slower bodies and stiff, sore joints, so it’s important to keep that in mind.
In a dog training class, the atmosphere should be one of non-competitiveness for pet dogs. Your progress should be gauged to only you and your dog, not any others in the class. Pass/fail isn’t a fun environment for either of you. Dogs absolutely know when their people are stressed, and easily become stressed as well; your GSD would not benefit from refreshing his training nearly as much if it’s stressful.
And be sure to enroll in a class that uses positive reinforcement and motivational techniques, and regular buckle collars (instead of choke chains or pinch collars). The class should understand you’ll be setting the bar for your senior dog – and as such you may go at a different pace, changing the positions you ask your dog to take for comfort’s sake when responding to a command, and staying in tune with how you think your dog is feeling at all times.
He’s not a youngster, so train accordingly, and you’ll both really enjoy honing your training skills. Have fun!