Now, this isn't necessarily easy, and if your dog's like mine with a few bad habits that irritate but don't cause too much pain, why would you bother?
However, if the old dog in question is actually a cranky old person, and particularly if it's yourself, then it most certainly is worth the effort.
You see we learn things in our younger years that seem to serve us pretty well. Either way, we embed them through years of practice until they become habits. We never question them and we probably believe they are just "who we are".
However, if these habits are based on a confrontational and controlling approach to the world then they are NO LONGER HELPING.
In fact they may well be ruining your life.
What if you could learn some new tricks? Ones that make you happier, wiser, better loved and more respected?
That might be worth some effort.
The philosopher Epictetus had some great advice for those who wanted to be happy. I paraphrase, but he might have said something along the lines of:
"Lighten the hell up! Stop pushing back on things you can't control (weather, children, stock market, for example) and practice controlling the only thing you really can. Your response to all these things."
Here's something to try:
Step 1 - Next time you find yourself criticising, judging, feeling intolerant or getting angry, ask yourself what impact it really has on the things you wish to control.
Step 2 - Notice the affect it's having on you.
Step 3 - Lighten the hell up.
You should still take action when you can change things for the better. But you should stop making yourself unhappy by ruminating about things you can't.