you can’t teach an old dog new tricks

you can’t teach an old dog new tricks


  • you cannot make others change their habits
  • it is really difficult to make anyone learn something new or informative when he/she is least interested in catching it
  • someone who has spent more than half of his life in bad habits, it is really difficult to teach them the righteous path

Like animals, it is quite difficult for old aged people to learn something new. So, learning a new lesson of life for the senior citizen is really difficult because they are least open to new ideas and learning.

Example Sentences

  1. I tried to make my grandmother learn how to use a smartphone but it was just like you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
  2. The teacher found it exactly like teaching an old dog new tricks when she tried to teach ethics to the naughty boys of his class.
  3. While dealing with his stubborn child, the teacher refused to give more coaching classes by saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
  4. My granny does not like pizza at all, she prefer to eat porridge – really, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
  5. Gian has been a bully guy since childhood – he is not going to give up his habit at this stage of the age because, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.


The phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” was originated by Heywood in 1546 and is considered as one of the oldest idioms of old English language.

The oldest written record of it is in John Fitzherbert’s The boke of husbandry, 1534:

…and he [a shepherd] muste teche his dogge to barke whan he wolde haue hym, to ronne whan he wold haue hym, and to leue ronning whan he wolde haue hym; or els he is not a cunninge shepeherd. The dogge must lerne it, whan he is a whelpe, or els it will not be: for it is harde to make an olde dogge to stoupe.


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1 Comment

AuthorRandom Internet Nerd writes on 1st October 2018

Oh how I love the English of 1534, so difficult for my fragile and young mind to read and comprehend. My inability to understand makes me want to “stoupe” writing this comment and go read more about old human history from 1534 C.E.

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