The Puppy Training Podcast

Episode #66 Training An Adult Dog

November 17, 2020 Baxter & Bella Puppy Training Season 2 Episode 66
The Puppy Training Podcast
Episode #66 Training An Adult Dog
Show Notes Transcript

Hi everyone! This week we are talking about adult dogs. Can they be trained? How do you train them? Is it the same as training a puppy?

We'll discuss when your puppy becomes an adult, the differences between training a puppy and an adult dog, and how to change possible unwanted behaviors in your adult dog.



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Training An Adult Dog

Hi everyone! This week we are talking about adult dogs. Can they be trained? How do you train them? Is it the same as training a puppy? 


But first, I hope you are doing well and staying both safe and healthy. COVID has made getting out the house a bit tricky and making so many of our dogs have never been left alone. I highly recommend taking time each day to go for a walk while your puppy is at home in their crate so they get used to being home without anyone there. 


Make sure they have been properly crate trained first, but definitely give them time alone on a daily basis somehow. This gives you a break as well! Puppy training takes time, patience and a lot of hands on work. Make sure you get time for you during the day. Use the crate to give yourself a needed break and your puppy a well-deserved nap too. 


Okay, so you have an adult dog you would like to train. 


First at what age are puppies considered adult dogs?


It varies but a general guideline is between 1-3 years:

  • Small breed – 12+ months
  • Medium breed – 18+ months
  • Large breed – 24+ months


It takes time for joints and bones to fully grow and develop. Wait to jog/run with your dog until 14-18 months at least.


You’ll notice signs around 5-6 months of losing baby teeth, reaching full size around 8 months and adolescent behaviors shortly after, followed by adulthood.


How do adult dogs differ from puppies?


  • Longer attention span
  • Longer bladder control
  • Adult teeth are not as sharp
  • More relaxed during the day – not as playful as puppies
  • Socialization – may have some lasting issues
  • Vaccinated so field trips are not limited
  • May have unwanted habits which can be hard to break
  • Still concerned with territory and social status
  • Not as excitable as adolescents
  • They calm themselves more quickly
  • Relax for longer periods of time
  • More confident
  • Dogs will continue to be influenced by environment, training and social interactions – keep up the training! 


What habits do they have and how long have they had them?

What do they currently know?

  • Don’t be afraid to go all the way back to basics – example: housetraining – train as you would an 8-week-old puppy
  • Longer attention span – more easily trained to stay, go to bed, wait, etc.
  • The 4D’s proof behavior.
  • Keep their day structured.


What habits does my adult dog have?

  • Jumping: Counter Surfing/Sofa/Guests – needs a job
  • Biting/Mouthing – no more at this age/tether & time-out
  • Digging – redirect & give an outlet
  • Housetraining – may need to start over
  • Barking – what’s the motivation behind it?


All of these can be addressed by Lesson 1.4 Modifying Behavior through Games & Activities.



What kinds of things can I train my dog to do?

  • Agility
  • Search & Rescue
  • Scent work
  • Therapy work in schools, hospitals, etc.
  • Frisbee
  • Fetch
  • Hunting
  • Service Dog work


As you can see, adult dogs can be trained. In fact, because of their longer attention spans sometimes it goes more quickly. If they have bad habits, that can go more slowly - but there are definitely things you can do to change those habits into things you want your dog to do. That really is the key - focus on what you want your dog TO do. It is much easier to train your dog to DO something versus trying to train them to NOT do something. Make a plan, be consistent, practice often and your hard work will pay off. 


Enjoy your dogs this week! Go do something fun together. Happy training!