Shelter-Myth-Busters : Ayres Edition
Myth: "You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks."
Most of us have used this well-worn, commonplace adage at one time or another, without really pausing to ponder its validity. We all know it's untrue of humans - our mind's potential is limitless. But CAN an old dog - or a dog with a troubled past - really learn new tricks? Considering that there's really no age restriction or life circumstance that would inhibit a healthy person from adopting a new skill, activity, language, or task - why would it be any different for dogs?
Dogs have unparallelled resilience, and their propensity to bounce back from even the most traumatic of life experiences can be nothing short of miraculous. A neglected dog, formerly banished to an outside chain, can quickly turn a new leaf and bask in the lavish, pampered life of an indoor cuddlebug. A dog subjected to physical abuse can gain renewed trust, and discover that the touch of a human can be a incredible source of comfort and healing. A shy dog without prior socialization can be taught to thrive - and even rejoice - in the company of people and other pets. And older dogs? You'll find that they actually have a "leg up" on young pups - no pun intended - when it comes to attentiveness. Their minds are fully developed, and they are keen and eager learners. It's never, ever, too late for a dog.
In a society where everyone seems to want a puppy, please don't bypass the true gems of the shelter: the aged, the imperfect, the withdrawn, and the ones that have had a shaky start to life. They can and they WILL learn, with just a little encouragement. And they have so much to teach us as well, if only we would listen. Give a dog your heart and a reason to trust, teach him with patience and love, and watch mountains move.
Still believe you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
Myth = BUSTED.