Pomeranians are easier to train when they're young, but if you do opt to train one later in life, the adage "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" may cross your mind more than twice. Training a Pomeranian after age 5 may be challenging, but it's feasible and rewarding.
Understand and begin to pay attention to your Pomeranian's verbal and nonverbal cues before you begin training. Your dog's barks, growls and whines mean different things, as do the positions of her ears, tail and head. While you might not have noticed these cues before training, they will help you understand your dog's behaviors -- whether she's excited, scared or happy -- and address them accordingly.
Reinforce positive behaviors in your Pomeranian. Immediately reward her for learned good behaviors with a training treat or a few clicks of a dog clicker when she is quiet, chews on a bone or indicates she needs to go outside to use the restroom, for example. Try to catch your Pomeranian doing good things as often as possible and reward her immediately so she understands that these new behaviors earn her a treat and make your happy.
Don't avoid or enable your Pomeranian's poor behavior. Your older dog might have developed bad habits, but allowing her to whine excessively or letting her outside when she barks at the sight of a squirrel in your backyard only reinforces these learned bad behaviors. Instead, in a firm and relatively stern voice, tell her no, then redirect her attention and energy to doing something desired.
Hold short, fun training sessions with your Pomeranian to teach her commands. Short sessions will help keep your older pet from becoming exhausted, as well as help her process commands better. Decide what you want your dog to learn and keep a handful of treats or your dog clicker with you. Work on one command during a session. Show your dog what you want from her -- how to sit, for example -- then give her a treat. Repeat the process several times before taking a break. She will begin to catch on to what you want and begin obeying the command.
Never resort to yelling at or hitting your dog. Older dogs can take a while to break bad habits, but it's possible. You can terrify your Pomeranian, and she may react in fear and bite. Training takes time.
- Consult a pet training facility for assistance with your dog if you need help, tips or a one-on-one session.
Jennifer Kimrey earned her bachelor's degree in English writing and rhetoric from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. She's a regular contributor to the "Houston Chronicle" and her work has appeared on Opposing Views Cultures, The Austin American-Statesman, The Red Vault, The Western Vault and various other websites and publications.