I have often said that children are the best dog trainers in the house. They seem to be more consistent, and they usually enjoy it because the dog is the only thing in the house they can “boss” and get away with it. There are several ways to involve your children in the training process: For the sake of safety, I’ll preface that the child should always be supervised, and age eight and up.
Have your child be responsible for feeding time. Asking the dog to sit and wait for their food is good for impulse control for the dog, and shows the child that every one can “say please” to get things they want. This can also help your child begin to understand responsibility.
Your child can also handle limited walking duties. A younger child can learn to put on the leash and take the dog out in the back yard for a walk. This helps the dog with leash manners, and combined with a game of fetch or hide and seek, it becomes more play time than chore.
Basic obedience is a great thing for your child to do with the dog. Once the dog knows “sit,” your child can ask the dog to perform that command randomly throughout the house and yard, helping the dog to understand that the command means the same thing no matter where they are. There is nothing cuter (or more impressive) than seeing a young child ask their 200lb Mastiff to sit and it happens every time. This also helps the dog to see your child as someone to respect.
After the basics are down pat, your child can then start to teach tricks, give paw, roll over, fetch, and tons more are all great ways to build the child/dog bond. Your child and dog will both gain self-confidence and you will be getting a well-trained dog as a bonus.
If you are able to take your dog to a beginner’s obedience class (or any training class, really), be sure to include your child. It can really open up a whole new world for everyone.
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