Dog Training For Kids

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

If you’ve decided that you’re ready for a family dog, it’s important to teach children how to appropriately and safely interact with dogs. Children can learn how to use positive, reward-based training methods, which will build a better bond between the child and the child, and make sure your kids don’t accidentally interfere with your training. Learning to train a dog teaches kids how to be compassionate educators and how to interact with dogs in an appropriate and positive way. This will help to build confidence for both your kids and dogs.

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Key Takeways

Children are at high risk of dog bites, but teaching your children to read dof body language can help to keep them safe.

You will need a few key tools, such as a clicker and some treats, to get your kids started with a training program, but you don’t need to spend much money.

With practice and patience, you can teach your kids how to train your dog to perform some simple tricks and behavious, like sit and stay, as well as some complex tricks.

Why Is Dog Training For Kids Important?

Children and dogs can build wonderful bonds. The moment that a new puppy enters the family can be one of the happiest memories for kids. However, there are some disturbing statistics on dog bites in the USA, especially when it comes to dogs biting children.

In the year 1996 to 1997, 4.7 million Americans suffered a dog bite

During that year, 25 people died as a result of a dog bite or attack

805 of the dog bite fatality victims that year were children

Dog bites are one of the most frequent causes of visits to emergency rooms for children, which shows how important it is to keep children safe around dogs.

Luckily, teaching children about dog training can go a long way to counter these frightening statistics, along with active supervision from you, proper puppy socialization, and teaching children about dog body language. It’s also important to keep in mind that training your dog will always be most successful if the whole family gets involved.

Children are naturally good dog trainers and can do an excellent job with a bit of guidance. Teaching positive training techniques will encourage them to learn how to interact properly with your dog, and other animals, without using any kind of fear, force, pain, or intimidation.

What Do You Need To Start?

You don’t need much to get started with teaching your children how to train dogs in a positive, reward-based manner.

You might need:

A leash with a harness or collar. You need to make sure your dog stays safe and under your control, if you are training outdoors, so buy a good leash and a harness or collar. Harnesses can offer more control over stronger breeds.

Clicker. Clickers are cheap and they are very easy tools for the whole family to use in training. Kids love using clickers and will catch on to how to use them quickly.

Treats. When your dog is learning something new, make sure that you use high-value training treats to make the payoff match the effort your dog is putting in.

Treat pouch. A good dog treat pouch makes it easier to keep treats ready during training sessions.

Training whistle. This can be helpful for teaching some behaviors, such as recall.

You might also want some extra props for teaching some specific behaviors and tricks, such as:

Training mat

Target stick

Obstacles like hoops, platforms, or jumps

The Basics

There are a few steps to follow to get your kids ready to teach your dog some new skills and tricks. If you’re not sure how to train a dog yourself, you can all go together to a dog training class to start learning some training skills. If you’re teaching your kids at home, here’s how to get started:

Introduce the clicker to your dog and children. The clicker needs to mean something to your dog and your child needs to learn how to use it. After every click, have them give the dog a treat. Tossing the treat, rather than directly handing it over is a safer way to keep their fingers out of the way.

Teach your kids about positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement just means rewarding the behavior you want by clicking the clicker at the moment your dog performs the behavior and tossing the treat.

Teach your kids how to get the dog to perform a behavior. The two main ways to do this are either by capturing, where you wait for the behavior to be offered, or luring, where you use a treat in the hand to guide your dog into a position. These are both effective techniques that don’t need many steps.

Add in a cue word. Now you want to pair the new behavior your dog has learned to do with the cue word, which is the word used to request the behavior.

Cue the behavior. This is the end product, where anyone can say the cue word and have the dog perform the desired action.

This approach is hands-off and makes learning fun for both the dog and your child. It also teaches your child that there are no negative consequences for wrong answers, but plenty of rewards for the right ones.

If your child is under the age of six, you can use the clicker team approach. They click and you toss the treat, or the other way round. This way, your child will always be supervised and you know they are being kind and fair in their training.

Tips and Tricks

The most important thing is to make sure that young children are always supervised when they are with your dog, no matter how sweet, docile, or predictable you think your dog is. Don’t take the risk.

To make learning fun for both your kids and the dog, and make sure they are successful, here are a few tips to make training go smoothly.

Demonstrate how to use the clicker, how to toss a treat, and what the behavior might look like before you start training sessions.

Have your children practice with the clicker before your dog is present. This will help them to understand the timing and how it’s done. For example, have them click and toss a treat every time you say the word ‘abracadabra’.

Find a place where there is plenty of space with no distractions, and where you can supervise the training sessions.

Make sure everyone in the family uses the same cue word. It will be confusing for the dog if you say ‘down’ and your child says ‘lay down’ for the same behavior. Decide on the cue word as a family and all use the same one.

Teach your kids about the importance of enrichment and have them help you when preparing some fun dog puzzle games and toys stuffed with treats. They might even come up with some good ideas themselves!

Take walks together. Young children should never hold the leash unless you are also holding it. This is for their safety, as much as the dog’s.

When practicing your dog’s recall command, have your child in one part of the house while you’re in another, and you can both practice calling the dog back and forth between rooms or in the yard.

As your child gets better at training, ask them to find one new behavior or trick to work on every two weeks.

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