Kids and Dog Training
So it looks like the kids are going to be home from school for a few weeks. What better chance to get them involved in dog training. This can be a good experience for both the kids and the dog. Kids learn lessons in communication, patience and more importantly in today's world, empathy. The dog will learn that you are not the only person she is required to listen to. Many of the world's best dog trainers began in this way as children (me included) and developed their skills and love of training over a lifetime of interaction with dogs.
To begin set both the child and dog up for success. Start with something the dog already knows such as the sit. This may seem redundant, but what we are trying to do is get the child and dog working together. Begin by having the child lure the dog into the sit position just as you taught him originally. Keep this training time fun for both and always offer a lot of encouragement and praise for both dog and kid.
A fun game to play with more than one kid can really help strengthen the dogs recall. Have the children in different rooms with treats in their pocket. One kid will tell the dog to come, and when she finds him will sit just as in a normal recall and will be treated. The second child will then call him and so on. As the dog starts to understand the kids can hide in more challenging locations. The dog is learning to think and the kids are having a fun game and learning the basics of obedience.
Dogs, especially puppies often jump up on kids, or even adults. The kids can learn to correct this by turning their back on the dog until he stops, turn back and get him to sit and treat. Also, by having your kids teach this technique to guests, they will see how challenging it is to convince other people to follow directions.
Since kids can sometimes be unpredictable and inconsistent, you may want to consider having them use different words for the basic commands. If the dog becomes confused about the meaning of a word it can be difficult to retrain it. It has been suggested to have kids use words like "here" rather than "come" so that if the child confuses the dog, you will still have your come command.
Teach your child to be patient and never loose their temper with the dog. This will be a valuable skill for both dog training and life in general.
Have fun and keep heading Duenorth, the right direction to a well trained dog.