Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Who Said "You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks"?

The answer to the last beagle puzzle is...
"You can't teach an old dog new tricks".

The clues were:
1)Me doing a new trick (catching a kibble mid-air); and
2) The verse "At the ripe age of seven", which in human terms is close to 50 years old!

Majority guessed this saying accurately. We also had a couple of votes for "Bark worse than a bite", which I thought was pretty good too coz it did look like I was going to bite and a vote for "It's a dog's life"...which also made sense. Well done everyone! Thanks for being such great sports. Bagel gets the "Dog Series" award for the being the clever beagle to correctly guess the dog saying first! Feel free to post the award on your blog, if you want to, Bagel.

The saying "You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks" means that learning to do new things is difficult because it is hard to forget the old ways and habits. Now, this may apply to humans but as this 7-year old beagle has proven, an old dog can learn new tricks given the right motivation - food! I think that a canine's ability to learn new tricks is dependent on the human's ability to teach the trick more so than anything else!

In defense of humans, mum reckons that whilst challenging, it is possible for older folks to learn new things. She cites the example of gramps learning to use the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Back in his younger days, withdrawal of money used to be done over the counter and they didn't have ATMs (which only became main-stream in mid to late 1980's). Mum also says that gramps learnt how to send SMS in his late 50's and is now quite an expert in sending messages from his mobile phone ! She does agree though that it is not easy for older folks to master new technology but when there's a will, there's a way.

I reckon it's much easier for old doggies to learn new tricks. In fact the catching kibble in mid-air trick was learnt just in time for this post. Dad was mucking around with the Lumix and decided to teach me this new trick. When mum saw the photo, she knew she had the winning shot for this dog saying!

One of the earliest tricks I learnt as a pup from my humans was the "shake" trick. I can do right and left paw to accomodate both right and left-handed humans! Below, I'm doing this trick for a friend. Last year, mum taught me "High Five", which is an extension of the "Shake" command, but alas, she hasn't taken a photo of me doing that trick yet...

I can also do the "roll-over" trick quite successfully, so much so that I can automatically do this trick before the humans ask me to when I know they have a treat at hand.

My humans didn't teach me all the tricks I know. Some are learnt instinctively. As a pup, I used to pick up a large leaf stalk or a stick when I used to go for walks. When I was an adult, I automatically picked up my own leash, much to the surprise of my humans.

Some tricks backfire on my humans though. Remember the "Shake" trick? Well, this is a trick I taught myself this year. When my humans are sitting comfortably on the sofa watching TV, I sit really close to mum (mostly), and the lift my paw to her knee to get her attention. Sometimes, it's to remind her that it's time for my dinner. Other times it's to tell her I want a tummy rub!

So who said "You can't teach an old dog new tricks"? They've obviouly not met this beagle. If you're an old dog, tell us your new tricks story! If you're a young pup, share with us too.


Amber-Mae said...

New dogs learn old tricks & old dogs learn new tricks! Evey dog can learn tricks despite what age they are. The older ones may take a little longer maybe but it depends on the individual dog really.

Please come over to my blog & vote for the short film I acted in called FLASHES!!!! Thank you!

"Famous" Solid Gold Actress

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage said...

Oh yes!

Nevfur underestimate US!

My mom talk my Doggy Nanny how to text message a few years ago!

Tank woo fur sharing!

Khongrats to Bagel!


Fred said...

Very nice tricks! I can shake well, but I do not like rolling over. Maybe a treat would help...

Molly the Airedale said...

Congratulations to Bagel!
We both know the high five trick!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Boo Casanova said...

i know few commands only and the human been trying to get me "hand" for as long as i can remember but i just dun wan to give my hand. hahahaha.

wet wet licks


Lorenza said...

Congratulations to Bagel!
Kisses and hugs

Cinnamon and Mint said...

Well done, Bagel! Learning new things is good to stimulate your brain whether old or young :-)

i said...

Congrats to Bagel! And you are a very clever girl, Kess!

Dughallmor Beagles said...

Hey Kess, it's good to see you again! Sorry we've been away so long (technically we're still away) but we had to come by and see what tricks you've been up to now, hehe! Alfie's favourite is the high five (but he needs his claws filed first!)
Beagles will do anything for food, huh? No shame!
Have a great weekend friend :o)
Slobbers xx

Thor and Jack said...

Congrats to Bagel!
Those are nice tricks!
Have a great weekend, Kess!


Yep, it sure can be fun learning tricks.

Sapphire said...

we tagged you to play a game (:

bokjae said...

Hi kess! I tag you to share some of your favourite doggie tales! Once you have done that perhaps give a link back to my post at Thanks!

Xsara and Tani said...

I am absolutely sure that old dogs can learn new tricks. Although 7 years is not old in my opinion, specially not for a beagle :) All dogs can learn.

Unknown said...

Ha! That is so true - all dogs, regardless of age, can learn tricks - it's just whether their humans are willing to put in the time, effort & patience to teach them!!

I do that paw trick too, Kess - it means that my humans never had to teach me to Shake (I came out of the womb shaking paws!!) but it also drives them mad when I keep pawing them for attention and cuddles and dinner and cuddles and breakfast and cuddles...etc.! :-)

Honey the Great Dane

bagel said...

hey thanks lots for the award and 'congratulations'! it's our 1st award so yippee!! haha super excited :D shall go figure out how to put it into the blog now tata :D

happy bagel and owner

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