How to Involve Kids in Training the Family Dog
Children make great dog trainers. They have more time to spend with the family dog, and they love to play. Plus, most children love being in charge. For ten tips on having children train dogs, scroll down to view the gallery.
Keep an Eye on Your Child
All Grown Up?
Whether your child is ready to train your dog depends on his or her age and maturity level.
Buy a Clicker
Clickers, which can be purchased online or at most pet stores, cost less than $5. Just make sure that your child knows the clicker is a dog training tool, and not a toy.
You will need a supply of dog treats, which your child will give to his dog as a reward for following the command. Just make sure your child doesn’t over do it. More than 50 percent of dogs have obesity problems.
If you have more than one child, make them work as a team. Let one operate the clicker and the other give the dog a small treat.
Show and Tell
Have your child give the dog a simple command like “sit.” Show your child how to place his hands gently on the dog’s lower back and have him press very gently so your dog will be in the “sit” position.
Using the Clicker
Have your child say the command, “sit,” then click the clicker, and reward the dog with a doggy treat and praise. Say “good dog.”
Repetition is Essential
The family dog should learn one command at a time before moving on to another trick. Your child should repeat these exercises out of the house too, so the dog is used to them and understands.
Ready for the Next Trick
Once your child has the “sit” command down, have him teach your dog other popular commands such as “stay,” “come,” “down,” and “heel.”
Getting your child to take an active role in training the family dog will boost your child’s confidence and strengthen the child/dog bond.
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Michele C. Hollow writes about pets and wildlife for parade and other publications. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Working with Animals, and she write the animal advocacy blog Pet News and Views. You can connect with her on Twitter.