23 year old Yorkie proves old dogs can learn new tricks

It seems the old adage ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ has been proved wrong by a 23 year old Yorkshire Terrier and the Sun newspaper.

Old age pensioner pooch, Yorkshire terrier Sammy, is 23 years old, has lost half his teeth and can hardly hear or see.  He is 161 years old in dog years and is already two years older than the current Guinness World Record holder for the oldest dog, which is currently held by a 21 year old (147 in dog years) Dachshund from New York called Chanel.

The Sun newspaper states that owner Doug Percival, 73 years old from Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire, has only taken him to the vets once since he got Sammy at two years old and he told the newspaper he puts Sammy’s ripe old age down to the two of them looking after each other and treating themselves to the fish and chip shop twice a week.

Before the Sun tried to teach Sammy anything, the retired truck driver Doug told them:

“I’d say you’ve got no chance.  He looks after himself and he knows he has to be here to look after me. But he has slowed down a lot.  I’m not holding up much hope.  But I couldn’t think any more of him than I do now. He is my mate and that’s all there is to it.”

UK dog trainer Jill Hopkins spent a little time acquainting herself with Sammy and despite Sammy’s lack of senses he was following a few orders in just one hour with Jill.

Doug is housebound so although Sammy has the full use of a large garden, he isn’t used to a lead but once he got used to Jill’s lead, Sammy was happy to walk and run with her.

Using chicken slices as reward and gentle commands, Jill taught Sammy to sit, stay whilst she walked round him and to keep his paw out and Sammy replicated his new skills with Andy Crick, a representative from the newspaper.

Jill said: “He did amazingly well.  Considering that his sight and his hearing is relatively poor, he is just reliant to his senses of smell and shadows. He has not been on a lead for many years and he took to that nicely.  He sat and stayed still for us, we managed to sit him and move around and he stayed put. He also gave a paw for food.”

Proud Doug said: “I’m very surprised.  But he’s proved the old saying wrong. He’s brilliant.”

You can read the full report at the Sun website, Sun teaches old dog new tricks


  • We just had to put our yorkie to sleep. He was 18 1/2 years old. He was a full bred yorkie from a champion bloodline.

    He was never sick and only got that way towards the end. He was blind and deaf but adjusted well and ate good and enjoyed his walks.

    We were wondering how he ranked age-wise. Anyone have any info on that? Or is there a place you can register the age of your dog?

    Appreciate any info.

    Craig Pays
    Kenner, La

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