Today’s guest post is written by Paige Johnson from LearnFit.org.
Daily Dog Tag recommends positive reinforcement training. This information is not intended to refute, replace or serve as a substitute for information gained from a licensed professional. These tips are for training a family dog you trust.
Always supervise small children and pets!
When you’re training your dog, consistency is key. Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges when it comes to training the family dog is ensuring the kids don’t accidentally derail your teachings — after all, their focus is more about playing with the dog than teaching him. One of the best ways to avoid this issue is to get the children actively involved in the process. Not sure how? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Start with basic etiquette
No matter how much experience your child has with dogs, it never hurts to go over the basic rules of how to interact with one — especially if there were training problems with your last pet! Talk about how to approach a dog: never while it’s sleeping, cautiously when it’s eating or chewing a toy, and always in a calm manner. Show them the proper way to pet and show affection, and explain how direct eye contact and too much attention can come off as aggression.
Teach them to “be a tree”
Perhaps the most difficult lesson you’ll have to teach the kids is the proper way to reject bad behavior from the dog, so teach this one early! Tell them that when Fido isn’t doing what he’s supposed to, they should be a tree:
● Stand straight and tall
● Branches — or arms — folded in front
● Eyes on roots (feet)
● Still and calm
Let them know that while it may seem “mean” to ignore the playful pup in front of them, it’s important for him to learn manners.
Put them in charge of caregiving responsibilities
Sometimes it’s best to start small when it comes to dog training. Give them some routine caregiving tasks like feeding and brushing. They can work with the dog to patiently sit and wait for his food, or to calm down enough for a nice grooming. It’s a great way to get younger kids — who may not be old enough to truly train — involved and visible as authoritative, plus give them the satisfaction of having responsibility over the dog. Be sure to discuss the importance of always giving the proper amount of food and resisting the temptation to give him snacks. To kids, giving food to a dog is a sign of affection, so be sure to clarify that it’s important for his health that he doesn’t get overweight.
Maintain control during training sessions
If your child is present during a training session, set clear expectations for them and let them know it’s important for the dog to focus. It may even help to give them a designated task — like getting treats ready. However, if the child refuses to cooperate, you may need to redirect your child or postpone the training session. You need the right environment in order for the training to be effective, and while it’s important for them to be involved in training, your kids need to respect the process.
Getting your kids involved in the training process is a great way to reinforce a dog’s training. Be sure to discuss the child’s role with your spouse ahead of time so you can create a plan together. With the proper techniques and persistence, you could even inspire a young trainer-to-be!
You can see more of Alice’s photos by following Alice G Patterson Photography on Instagram.
About Alice G Patterson Photography: Based in Syracuse, New York, Alice specializes in editorial photography, senior portraits, and dog photography.