D ear Old Trainer: My dog Lilly is 9 and I am 11. They said on TV you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. Lilly is my best friend, and she is smart, and we play in the yard. Can she still learn tricks?
Here is a trick that will prove it. Take Lilly outside to play. Walk to the edge of the yard and turn around. Say “Turn around, Lilly” and walk the other way. Lilly will follow you. Pet her and tell her good girl, then walk the other direction and do it all again. In a few days, Lilly will turn around as soon as you tell her to.
Ask your dad how he trained Pete, then you and your dad work together to teach Pete some new things. I emailed you hints on how to teach him to sit, stay and come. Practice on that and watch Pete so you understand how he thinks. The better you understand dogs, the easier it is to train them.
To be a good writer you have to read a lot. There are lots of good books about dogs and kids. Ask your school librarian to help you find them. That way you learn about dogs and writing at the same time.
I’ve never seen a dumb dog of any kind, and I doubt vets really believe dogs are dumb. It’s just that they see dogs when they are at their worst. No dog likes to be separated from the family they love and put in a strange room and touched and examined by people they don’t know.
So thank you, Maria, for raising an important point all dog owners should know. No dog should be examined by a vet without their human present. All good vets know this and invite you in.