Todd Mahupuku, of Trentham, asks :-

Can an old dog learn new tricks?

Kevin Stafford, a veterinarian at Massey University, responded.

Generally yes. There may be problems however.

Older dogs may not see or hear as well as young dogs and some may not be physically able to do 'tricks'. Many older dogs have arthritis and are in pain, and may therefore be less responsive than younger or pain free dogs. Dogs with arthritis should be treated for the pain.

Moreover, some older dogs go senile; it's called cognitive dysfunction. Dogs affected with cognitive dysfunction have learning and memory problems. They may forget where to go to the toilet, be confused and stop responding to their owners. Dogs with cognitive dysfunction may not be able to learn 'new tricks'. These dogs can be treated with a number of drugs but their learning ability is usually compromised. So age is not the issue, old dogs can learn new tricks until they lose the physical or mental ability to do so.