Dogs can be a fantastic addition to family life, but a lot of times parents are unsure of how to involve their children with training the dog other than at feeding and potty times. Here are just a few easy ways you can get your kids excited about and involved in training the family dog. It not only helps teach your kids responsibility and how to care for their new bff, but also can create a deep bond between them and the family dog. And as always make sure you supervise your children at all times with the dog.
Start out by having your child help your dog learn the sit command. Show your child how to hold a treat just above the dog’s nose moving it back over the dog’s head slowly. Remind your child to only give the treat to the dog if he sits with his bottom on the ground and to praise him when he’s done a job well done. You can repeat this process with any of the other seven common commands (come, stay, no, down, off, heel) and the hand motions you use to communicate those commands to the dog. A child as young as 5 or 6 can often help with this basic training.
It is recommended that you set up for a training session with your child and the dog in a place with as little distraction as possible and have the dog on leash in case you need to take control.
Stop the Dog Jumping
One of the most common behavior problems kids have to deal with when it comes to dogs is jumping. This is because dogs can feel the fun and fast energy that kids give off.
Help your kids teach the family dog to not do this by encouraging them to cross their arms and turn their backs to the dog as you gently pull the dog away from your child (the dog should be on a leash for this training). Once all four paws are on the ground have your child come back and interact with the dog and even treat him.
Sometimes the best way to get your kids involved in training the dog can be to attend a weekly class together. Under the guidance and supervision of a trained professional everyone in the family can become consistent when training the family dog which is very important. Working within the confines of a class not only provides structure for you and your kids, but also allows the expert to give pointers and tips on how to make training your dog go more smoothly and therefore speed up the learning process for your dog and your kids. There are a lot of great family dog classes offered by local Humane Society and SPCA branches, plus the class fee goes to a great cause; helping shelter animals find forever homes!
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