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Keeping Senior Dogs Sharp with Tips from Bill Berloni

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This post is sponsored by Purina Pro Plan. As always, we only share information that we believe is important to our readers–and, with two seven-year-old dogs in our home, we’re always looking for more information on how to keep our dogs active and alert for many years to come.

When the live small screen adaptation of “The Wiz” airs December 3rd on NBC, the interpretation of the classic children’s tale will feature two 10-year-old rescued Cairn Terriers. Both will have a spring in their step as they “Ease On Down the Road” thanks to a diet that keeps them mentally sharp as they show off their acting chops in the iconic role of Toto.

Shining a spotlight on National Adopt-A-Senior-Dog Month, famed animal trainer Bill Berloni — who has offered shelter dogs of all ages a second act in life as stars of stage and screen for more than 40 years — has partnered with Purina Pro Plan to showcase the benefits of Purina® Pro Plan® BRIGHT MIND™ Adult 7+.

The glucose metabolism in a dog’s brain begins to alter at the start of a canine’s senior years, affecting our four-legged friends’ memory, awareness, ability to learn and make decisions.  The nutrition in BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+ formulas, which contains enhanced botanical oils that promote mental awareness in senior dogs, has been found to produce visible results within 30 days when added to an older dog’s daily diet.

Like other pet parents, Bill Berloni may notice that his five rescued senior dogs who are fed BRIGHT MIND Adult 7 + (including the two dogs who are currently preparing for The Wiz Live!) have more interest in playtime and are able to adapt more readily to change.

Thank a Rescue

Helping homeless companion animals from coast to coast enjoy a taste of the good life as they wait for the day when they land starring roles in the lives of loving pet parents, dog devotees can join with Purina Pro Plan in a show of thanks to small rescue groups.

Learn more about Pro Plan and how you can help dogs at as well as on the @proplan Twitter account!

Tips from Bill Berloni

Bill Berloni, who has gained fame by training dogs who have made the leap from shelter to stardom, offers tips to teach tricks to the four-legged celebrity in your life.

The high-profile pal to those with paws states: “Whether you have a young dog, senior dog, adopted dog, new dog or two dogs, training is the key to communicating with your canine family member. Here are some simple, easy to learn behaviors for you and your dog to start a two-way conversation. It is a series of behaviors that build upon one another to get the conversation rolling.  So grab your Purina Pro Plan training treats, leash, patience and smile and let’s start training.”

  • Sit. Simple, but important, this is the first thing I teach my dogs. Remember to be kind, consistent and clear. With a treat in hand, say your dog’s name and lure your dog’s nose up with the teach hand as you gently push their rear end down and say “sit” once. Quickly your dog will follow your hand up in front of their nose and avoid the push at the other end. If your dog does not sit, make sure you are luring them correctly. If they still do not do it, start over again by saying their name and giving them the command. They only get the reward when they do it right. Keep practicing and eventually you will notice you won’t even need to raise your hand. All of a sudden your dog knows “sit.”
  • Stay. Teaching “stay” is about teaching your dog to be patient. With leash and treats in hand, ask your dog to sit. Say their name and “stay” and treat them immediately. In effect you are rewarding them for staying one second. Each day in a week, add five seconds. Take your time – do not graduate five seconds until they are doing it perfectly. Once you successfully get up to “stay” for twenty seconds, raise the stakes by putting distance between you and your dog. Say “stay” and take one step back and repeat the same graduation of time the dog stays put while treating him/her. Once you’ve conquered “stay” one step back, go to two, three and so on. Pretty soon your dog will have conquered “stay” at various distances!
  • Up and down. Put your dog on a leash and hold it at the buckle. In the other hand have a treat. Say their name, then say “down” and lure them to the floor gently putting pressure on the leash – once they get down give them the treat. Get another treat and say their name and “up” while luring them with the treat and gently pulling up and giving them the treat as soon as they sit up.  Soon you will see they are avoiding the gentle pressure on the leash to get to the treat.
  • Wave. This is a fun and simple behavior which dogs have a natural tendency to do. Usually most dogs will reach for something they want or extend a paw to solicit attention. Simply get down on the floor with your dog. Hold the treat in one hand by your face, say their name and the word “wave” and gently lift their paw with your other hand. Hold it for two seconds and then give the treat. In no time at all, your dog will start to lift their paw on their own – when they do it by themselves immediately give them the treat. Before you know it, they will be hailing taxis in New York City!
  • Mind Games / Pick the Paw. This is a mental stimulation game to get your dog’s brain working! Show your dog a treat and then put your hands behind you and switch the treat around. Bring both hands if front of you and let your dog choose. If your dog picks the correct hand, they win the treat, if not try again.

Photo Deposit Photos; © castenoid

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