Few events are as exciting as bringing home a new puppy – and let’s be real, no one gets more excited than kids. Puppies and kids have a lot in common: they are impatient, inquisitive, and get easily excited!
It's no surprise why children make a great helping hand when it comes to training the newest member of the family. With proper adult supervision, they can learn to feed, exercise and groom the family puppy, and get her to obey simple commands. In addition, puppy training teaches kids valuable life lessons, such as taking responsibility, patience, kindness, and discipline. Involving your kids in training the puppy can also help them affectionately bond with the new addition.
How can you involve your child In puppy training?
Children of all ages can take part in puppy training, provided that the tasks assigned are age-appropriate and closely supervised. In light of this, here's a list of guidelines you should start your kids with:
1. Start with the basics
Children have short attention spans, which is why you need to start small and gradually take things up a notch. Adults should ultimately remain responsible for the training of the house dog, but there's no reason to leave children completely out of the picture. Your kid can start with basic skills like getting the puppy to sit, stay, fetch, and walk on a leash, since these activities can be easily taught under adult supervision.
These basic tasks can help your kid feel a part of the process and also help form a stronger bond with the pet. A good tip is to use treats when involving your kid in training as it will help get thing done more effectively and efficiently.
Find a place that has no distractions and have your puppy on a leash with ample soft treats ready. The starting goals should be to get the puppy and your child working in harmony, so begin commanding your dog with tasks that he already knows such as “come,” “sit” or “fetch.” Have your kid call the dog and when he does, reward him with a treat.
2. Stop the jumping early
It may seem cute when an excited puppy starts jumping every time your kid walks in, but it can result in accidents or injuries, especially as puppies grow. You need to curb this behavior as early as possible, and also involve your child in the process. Have sessions where you put your puppy on a leash in front of your kid. If he starts jumping, ask your child to cross their arms and turn around. After the dog regains his composure, allow your child to interact with him again. Repeat the same behavior if the puppy gets excited again.
3. Try variations of simple activities
Have your child indulge in simple, fun activities that will help him bond with the puppy and also act as a training session. Play games with the puppy – for example, hide-and-seek, which can help strengthen the puppy’s ability to recall commands. When she successfully finds your child, give her a treat.
4. Ask children to be part of the puppy’s exercise routines
Kids can participate in a puppy’s daily exercise regimen to learn about the art of being a fun and responsible owner. You should always accompany the dog and the child and stick to walking in parks or on the sidewalks. If you wish for your child to take full control of the dog, put the dog on two leashes, one under your control and the other under your child’s.
5. Make Puppy Training Part Of Your Kid’s Daily Routine
You probably already have a consistent routine with kids, so try adding in puppy training. For instance, as your child comes down to have breakfast, have him or her help with your puppy’s morning meal too. If you have multiple children, then you can have one of them prepare the dog’s breakfast while others help scoop out the right amount of food. Guide the kids properly, but let them take matters into their own hands as much as possible.
Potty-training is another after-school task that your kids can help you with, and trips to the yard can be a very effective way for both your dog and child to burn additional energy prior to the start of doing homework and carrying out other responsibilities.
Other helpful tips you need to keep in mind when involving your kids in puppy training:
Training a new puppy should be a concerted effort made by the whole family. By working side by side, you will help your puppy make a smooth transition in your home.
Bio: Brandi Marcene is a writer based in the US with close to a decade's worth of experience. She has written extensively on pets, including authoring several eBooks and blogs on training and communicating with dogs.
*Bernard and Kitty's Waggy Tales articles are for information purposes only and are neither intended as, nor should be substituted for professional advice, or the treatment or diagnosis of any health conditions. Information that is provided in this blog is intended for general knowledge: consult your veterinarian if you have questions about caring for your animal, or about your animal’s health or condition.
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