For hundreds of years, canines have received the short end of the stick with the idiom you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, because as it turns out you can. According to a recent survey conducted by OnePoll for Stella & Chewy’s, 87 percent of participants said that they had, in fact, had success in teaching older dogs new things and 71 percent admitted that their dogs had gotten smarter with age.
Living with Pets
The survey of 2,000 pet parents (both dogs and cats) examined various aspects of living with younger and older animals. Their findings included that, as they’ve gotten older, pets are perceived as being better at interacting with other pets or people and learning new tricks or commands. While 54 percent noted younger pets are easy to teach, parents of senior pets reported a stronger emotional connection with their pets (91 percent) than those who have younger pets (85 percent).
The Good & the Bad of Pet Ownership
In weighing out the good and the bad, the results were almost even. For instance, the perks of owning a younger pet included them having more energy (64 percent) and fewer health issues (54 percent), but younger pets also need more training (61 percent) and are more likely to experience accidents (55 percent). Owners of seniors get to skip these drawbacks regarding training (69 percent), misbehaving (64 percent), and 57 percent felt that senior pets were just as easy to care for as younger ones.
“We believe that all pets deserve love, no matter the age,” said Marie Moody, founder of Stella & Chewy’s. “My dogs Stella and Chewy, who inspired me to start the company, showed me how much I can learn from senior pets. As my dogs aged, they became even smarter companions, giving me a fresh perspective that I carry with me every day.”
Adopt a Senior Pet
One really encouraging stat was that 68 percent of pet parents believe more people should be open to adopting senior pets, with three-quarters of them acknowledging that their pet has become a more intuitive companion with age. Respondents also admitted to learning a few things about aging from their pets, such as “age doesn’t determine how fun or sociable you can or cannot be,” and to take things “in stride one day at a time” or to “be patient with younger generations.”
A sentiment that was nearly unanimous among participants was 90 percent of them felt that their pet had made a significant impact on their lives while undergoing major life experiences, such as welcoming children, losing another pet, or struggling through the pandemic. Pets can teach us a lot if we’re wise enough to listen.
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