Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?


Well I never even knew there was a song about this, but I really believe you can teach an old dog new tricks. Over the years I have literally fostered many old dogs and have taught them all kinds of things. But does it translate to people? Can people really change?

There are many of us who believe they can’t. But anyone can do anything. And to quote my mother, “It’s not a matter of can’t, it’s a matter of won’t.” I think she’s right about this.

You do have to want to put a little fire in your life, but mostly you have to be able to recognize that the way you are living isn’t really living at all.

Maybe you’re just going through the motions. Maybe your empty smile masks an emptiness deep within you. Maybe you have fractured relationships and don’t know how to fix them, so instead of doing anything about it, you surround yourself with people who give you the rubber stamp that you are A-ok just the way you are and it’s everybody else who has the problem.

It’s fine if you’re that kind of person because the truth is, anyone you are choosing to associate with doesn’t know the real you anyway. Because you don’t know the real you. Or at least you haven’t allowed him/her to surface. Sometimes it’s just easier to be the old dog who doesn’t want to change.

In order to teach an old dog new tricks, you have to gain their trust. You reward them with treats and praise when they act a certain way. When they don’t get the trick you don’t admonish them, you pet them and reassure them that they are still loved.

Humans aren’t much different. We require love, praise, food, trust and reassurance. It’s pretty simple. But we complicate it by looking outside of ourselves for these things, rather than within.

If you can learn to listen to what your soul craves, believe you are worthy of it and then take action towards making it a reality, you can teach yourself pretty much anything.

I am following my inner promptings all the time. Lately it has been wanting me to learn new tricks. I pulled out my tennis racket yesterday for the first time in years and today I’m learning how to use my camera at a class in the city.

Last week I took a men’s cutting class for two days to gain confidence and interviewed at Fellow Barber. All of my work paid off and I was grateful beyond belief when they welcomed me into their apprenticeship program.

I do have a vision for how this all turns out and where it might be leading me, but I have learned that trying to control situations, people and life is a mistake. I might have one vision and the Universe might have something really better, so I have to allow the process and enjoy the journey and only take action when I am guided to.

If you’re an old dog who thinks you can’t change or learn something new, then you are not only in denial, but cheating yourself of a very rich and rewarding life that’s just sitting there waiting for you, right outside your comfort zone.

Break the barrier! Learn a new trick.




Published by

Gretchen Allison

I love learning new skills and honing ones I already have. When I'm not trying new things I'm going to auditions, which I never tire of. I am blessed to have representation from some very wonderful agents and recently signed with an amazing manager. I am also an avid supporter of National Mill Dog Rescue and Dogs In Danger and usually have a foster dog or cat around.

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