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Hi, everyone. I am new here. I was planning to buy a GSD puppy, but people here changed my mind. Now I think it's better to adopt one. I've found some good dogs from petfinder.com, but most of them are adults. Now my question is: can an adult dog still be able to learn? I hope my dog can learn to understand my commands, like sit, down, jump, bark these basic ones and some other difficult ones. Does a puppy learn faster? What about 2-year-old one? or 5 year-old one? Or it just depends on the individual dog?
Thanks!!!
 

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It does depend on the dog, but I've bought older dogs and retrained them. I have better luck on the younger ones but older ones can be retrained, just might take longer as some things are pretty well ingrained and have to be untaught.
 

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I got a retired showdog at age 7. My trainer then trained him to be my working handicap assistance dog.

Adult dogs are VERY trainable!!
 

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Absolutely! Adult dogs are very trainable. The success of training any dog, pup or adult, comes down to the skills of the trainer. If you find a good trainer in your area to help you, you'll be all set regardless of what type or age of dog you get.
 

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YES! I got my female when she was almost 4. She was house trained and had good manners and basic obedience, but besides her conformation title, I did everything else with her as an adult (rally, agility, herding, therapy, CGC, etc). We are STILL training and adding new events to try. In May we are doing a Dog Sport trial for the first time and if I get around to it we'll do AKC or UKC obedience competition.
 

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Dogs of any age can be trained! My previous dogs were strays, I found them at 2 years old and 4.5 years old and they both had no obedience training whatsoever. They both were smart and learned very quickly. My Golden went to Novice AKC Obedience level training and also became an agility dog and learned carting, flyball, freestyle, a number of tricks and many other things. My terrier also learned obedience and agility and even more tricks than my Golden. When he was 10 years old he suddenly lost his hearing after dental surgery and I re-taught him all the obedience using hand signals instead of voice.
My current GSD was just adopted at 4 years old. She had some obedience training already but is very rusty so we're going to a class soon and I expect to have no problem training her in the same sort of things as my previous dogs.
 

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omg, yes! I've adopted dogs from the pound and rescues, including one that clearly had been abused. Those were some of the most obedient dogs I've ever had. In fact, they had the BEST recalls of all my dogs.


I didn't even notice that it took extra time to bond. Treat them right, feed them extra treats, take them to fun places, and poof! they adore you. Trust comes over time, but that happens with pups too.

I would not hestitate to buy or adopt an adult dog.
 

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I wouldn't even say it always takes longer. Depends on what the adult dog already knows. With pups you have to teach them everything. With adults, the dog may already know all sorts of things, including basic obedience commands. In which case it's just a matter of polishing him up and the new owner and dog learning to communicate together and work with one another.
 

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I woulnd't hesitate for a nanosecond in adopting an older dog if I felt it was the right dog for me. In fact, I did so twice!

First one had basic OB when I got him, and he went on to be a fantastic therapy dog.

Second dog was I believe a tied dog, and new nothing, nothing, nothing! Had never bonded to a person prior to me getting her, I believe from having been left isolated.

She now has the equivalent of an advanced Obedience title, is a tracking star, and amazingly smart and willing to learn, and easy-going, wanting to please attitude! An advanced Schutzhund trainer said that I have brought her PAST her innate potential. All this with an older dog.
 

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This is the same question as "can someone (a human) older than 6 years old or 8 years old learn?". I am assuming the OP is older than 8yo and has not given up on learning yet.
 

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Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!
 

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I would rather train any older dog than most of the people I have to train at work. You will not be dissapointed if you adopt an older dog.
 

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I forgot to add my stray Golden went on to be a therapy dog with 3 organizations (and also passed the tests for 2 other organizations but we didn't join.) She became totally off-leashed trained as well, I only used a leash for her because there is a leash law where I live.
It did not take long to bond with her at all, after a week it seemed like she had always been a part of the family and she acted like she had always known us...
 

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Quote:I wouldn't even say it always takes longer.
I agree! 99% of the dogs I foster come in as adults, and nearly all of them have lived their previous lives as outside dogs with no training and little interaction. With a few exceptions of dogs with major problems to overcome (and you'd know going in if your new dog was one of these) I have found them easier and faster to train than puppies. They typically bond practically on the ride home from the shelter
and within a week are housebroken and crate trained. They love to learn new commands and are very eager to please. There are of course lots of differences among individuals and by breed, but as far as age - I would not hesitate to adopt an adult dog or recommend that someone else do the same. GSDs are an EXTREMELY intelligent, trainable, and eager to bond breed. A rescued adult is no different from a puppy in that regard, except maybe even more so because they have better focus and are thrilled to have a new and better life.
 

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Aloha, so who is going to write "Mythbusters" and say you CAN teach an old dog new tricks? BUSTED

frank
 

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The only dog that's too old to learn is a dead dog.

The older ones can be easier to train in some ways because they have a mature brain that's better able to handle distractions and retain focus.
 

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Oh, they learn! It was easy for us to get Dunc ready for his TDI testing. So much less hyper than a pup. He passed with flying colors and we'd had him for over six years (we think he was about a year when we got him from the HS).
 
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