Adopting an adult dog is a wonderful choice.
Most adult dogs have long grown out of constant chewing, nipping, and teething, and they’re usually easier to house-train. Adopting an adult can be the fast track to raising a reliable companion with good manners.
There are some unique challenges to training an adult dog. Even so, old dogs really can learn new tricks. With some patience, reasonable expectations, and plenty of positive reinforcement, your adult dog will quickly become a well-adjusted member of your family.
What To Expect When Training An Adult Dog
How much do you know about your adult dog’s past? Did they grow up in a neglectful or abusive situation? Or were they rehomed from a loving household?
It can take anywhere from six weeks to three months for your adult dog to adjust to living in their new home. During that time, your dog’s personality and quirks will gradually unfold. You may want to take your time introducing your dog to other family members, including other pets, depending on their temperament.
You’ll also get to know what areas of training need to be done. Your dog may be already be house-trained, or they may have had no training at all, and may need to be house-trained from scratch as though they were a puppy.
Crate Training For Adult Dogs
Most dogs like the security and privacy of a crate. A crate keeps your dog from having accidents around your home because they will rarely relieve themselves where they sleep. Even after your dog is house-trained, a crate can be used to keep them safe when you’re not around, especially if they may be destructive or get into dangerous items.
Your adult dog may already have been crate trained. If you put out a crate, furnished with a bed and some soft blankets, they’ll likely settle into it without any prompting.
If your dog hasn’t had any crate training, they may bark or whine when they are locked inside. You can teach your dog to love their crate by gradually working your way up to longer sessions, and you can use treats, a Kong, and a blanket to make it their sanctuary.
House-Training For Adult Dogs
It’s not unusual for a dog to have a few accidents while adjusting to their new home. But if you suspect your adult dog has never been house-trained, you’ll need to treat them like a puppy. Thankfully, your adult dog’s bladder is fully developed so they will most likely have no problem learning to “hold it” until they get outside.
Your untrained dog should be supervised whenever possible. They can be crated when you are not around. A set meal and potty schedule will make it easier for your dog to adjust to your home, and they’ll generally have to go out around the same times each day.
Socialization For Adult Dogs
If your dog was not properly socialized as a puppy, they may have a harder time accepting new people and environments. If they were abused or neglected, they may be especially fearful of people
It’s important to have realistic expectations. If your dog is severely fearful of people, it would not be reasonable to invite all of your friends and family over for a “welcome home” party.
Depending on your dog’s breed, their history, and their training, they may love everyone they meet, or they may take a long time to warm up to people. It’s important that you do not pressure a shy dog to love everyone right away. Dogs cannot learn when they’re in a fearful state, and it can take time for them to feel calm enough to even accept treats from a stranger. It’s important that you work at your dog’s pace and that you’re always mindful of their emotional state.
Professional Training For Adult Dogs
Just because your dog is grown, it does not mean that it’s too late to start working with a trainer. In fact, you may be surprised at how quickly your dog learns and adjusts with a little help.
Healthy Houndz helps dog parents raise the perfect family dog using science-backed, positive reinforcement based techniques. We offer virtual dog training for dog parents around the world. Schedule your free 30-minute consultation call today!