Despite myth, Tampa dog owners say old dogs can learn new tricks

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Kinga Madro and her 7-year-old dog Makers spend a lot of time at the dog park on Davis Islands.

Makers is focused on his owner whenever she holds a tennis ball in her hand.

“He’s a very good dog,” said Madro.

Geraldine Sequeria is still working with her dog Riley on certain behaviors.

“We got her to do sit and lay pretty easily. Stay… that’s not too good,” said Sequeria.

RELATED: 8 most important behaviors every dog should learn

Both women think it is possible to train a dog at any age to obey commands, even old dogs, despite a common saying to the contrary

“So you can definitely teach an old dog new tricks. That’s a myth,” said Sequeria.

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers agrees. They recommend that pet owners keep training sessions short and focused on just one behavior at a time for older dogs.

Angelica Steinker is a professional trainer with with Courteous Canine and believes training a dog is all about reward and repetition and she says you have to keep at it throughout the dog’s life.

“Training does not last forever. It’s not like riding a bike. You do need to refresh their memory. If you don’t sporadically reward the behavior, they are going to disappear,” said Steinker.

She says especially with older dogs, humans have to be patient.

“It is a process. It’s not something they’re going to get in a day. It’s not necessarily something they’re going to get in a week,” said Steinker.

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