Can We Retrain an Old Dog?

Keep in mind that the ramp may not be the ideal way for Grizzly to get on and off furniture —instead, he may adjust more quickly and easily to assistance stairs. A mobility sling or lifting harness is another option for helping him navigate both stairs and furniture. Take the time to figure out what works best for him and for you.

If it is too much of a struggle for Grizzly to get on and off your bed, work on transitioning him to a sleeping area on the floor near you. Start by placing his blanket or bed on top of your own at night until he’s used to sleeping on this space. Then, move the bed onto the floor or to an elevated area, like a large ottoman, immediately next to your bed. During the day, move his bed around the house and work on training exercises that encourage him to rest near you but in his own space.

An elevated dog bed may be a good option if he doesn’t like being on the floor. You can also boost his resting space by placing a mat or blankets underneath it. To reduce any potential separation anxiety, put a shirt or towel with your scent on it in his sleeping space. A dog-safe heated, orthopedic bed may help comfort sore joints, and is another way to help him settle in for a restful sleep.

Put a Stop to Food Stealing

Training Grizzly to rest in a specific space can also be a handy way to manage his food stealing. Reward him for lying on a mat area near where you’re prepping food or eating meals. Hand-deliver treats or, better yet, feed him his meals inside of a food puzzle to redirect his focus and provide a healthy brain challenge. Ensure all humans are managing their own behavior, too, by not feeding him when he begs and keeping unattended food cleaned up.

You are right in your assumption that verbal cues like “drop it” may not work as well anymore. Instead, teach Grizzly to respond to hand signals. For example, you can use your hand to direct his attention to his bed or mat when you need him to go to his space.

I wish you and your faithful gray muzzled companion the very best in your training endeavors! Thank you for doing your part in giving him the sweetest, most love-filled days possible!

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