phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

New tricks

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on March 07, 2006

In Reply to: New tricks posted by R. Berg on March 06, 2006

: : : : who first said "you can't teach an old dog new tricks?"

: : : Somebody dead, no doubt. It's usually impossible to trace traditional proverbs like that one to the first speaker. Researchers are doing well if they can determine what country a saying originated in.
: : The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs gives the first *known* occurrence in the form "the dogge must lerne it when he is a whelpe, or els it wyl not be; for it is harde to make an olde dogge to stoupe". Ths is froa book of advice on husbandry by a man called Fitzherbert, published in 1530. But as Smokey says, it was probably a truism even then. (VSD)

: I must have done a convincing impersonation of Smokey. ~rb

it's something about the angle of the eyebrows. No, seriously, I don't know how I managed to do that; my brain is a bit fried at the moment!