Ways for Your Children to Help Train the Family Dog.

January 5, 2017

Most kids are ecstatic at the thought of getting a dog and when that day comes, they are willing to be involved in any way that you’ll let them.  A new dog is a big responsibility for the whole family, but caring for and training your dog together can make the transition easier for everyone.

 

Starting point

Children actually make great trainers.  They love to take charge, love to play, and end up probably spending the most time with the family dog.  Your first goal is to get your dog and your child comfortable working together. Get lots of small, tasty treats ready.  You’ll be working on repetition and will want your dog to be eager for more. Keeping your dog on a leash can be beneficial to maintain control when necessary.

 

Commands that your dog already knows or can learn quickly like “sit” or “come” will be easiest to start with. Have your child call the dog and when he comes, give him a treat immediately.  Then try doing the same with “sit”. Don’t forget to praise your child and dog. 

Jumping up can be a common problem in the beginning. Dogs have a tendency to do it more with kids due to their size and excitable nature.  Try keeping your dog on a leash to help control him, but allow him to interact with your child.  If the dog jumps up, tell your child to cross their arms and turn around.  When this happens, pull back gently on the leash to get your dog back down.  Once the dog is back down, bring your child to the dog again.  If the dog continues to jump up, your child can use a treat to get him to sit instead of jump. 

If you have more children, have them work as a team to give treats and give commands.  Continue to be encouraging and make it fun for them.

 

Basic  Commands

Dog training responsibility definitely lies with the adults, but with positive reinforcement and consistency children will learn basic commands and gain your family dog’s trust and love in the process.

Teaching your dog to “sit” starts with following the treat.  Have your child stand in front of your dog with a treat  held just above the dog’s nose.  Tell them to move the treat back over the top of the dog’s head slowly, and your dog will sit to follow the food.  When the dog sits, praise him and your child. 

 

You can  teach your dog “down” in a similar manner by holding the treat in front of the dog’s nose, then dropping your hand to the ground so the dog follows the treat and drops into the down position.

 

Teaching your dog to “sit” starts with following the treat.  Have your child stand in front of your dog with a treat  held just above the dog’s nose.  Tell them to move the treat back over the top of the dog’s head slowly, and your dog will sit to follow the food.  When the dog sits, praise him and your child. 

You can  teach your dog “down” in a similar manner by holding the treat in front of the dog’s nose, then dropping your hand to the ground so the dog follows the treat and drops into the down position.

 

Training Games

Since adult supervision is important and excitement can increase a dog’s energy level during play, adults should teach training games to the dog before getting kids involved.  Clickers are cheap tools that can be utilized for games and learning commands.  Training games such as Hide-and-Seek, Fetch, and Stay Inside the Rope are all great for fostering cooperation and teaching good behaviors.  You can learn more about them here.  Avoid games that utilize speed or strength of the dog, such as tug-of-war, which can be more dangerous for a child.

When kids learn the proper ways to train and interact with their dogs, they forge a better bond for a loving relationship that lasts.

 

 

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