Dog Training for Kids
By Jason Wright
April 7, 2021
Involving Your Children in Training Your Dog
Your children are part of the family and need to know how to interact with your dog, reinforce good behaviour and correct bad behaviour. Getting the kids involved with providing the necessary structure not only teaches your dog valuable skills and discipline but it also teaches them as well.
Training exercises can be fun for the whole family and can help the relationship remain stable between all family members.
Dog Training Basics for Kids
The very first and most important thing to teach your children is rules and boundaries. Not only how to enforce them for your dog but to teach them what rules and boundaries they need to have around your dog. Some examples of rules that your kids should have are:
- Leaving the dog alone when eating and sleeping
- No poking
- No pulling the dogs hair.
- No rough play
- No climbing on the dog
- No getting into your dog’s or any dogs face
These can prevent a lot of stress in your dog and prevent your dog from biting your child.
You and the kids must remain consistent with the rules and boundaries you have set for them and your dog. This means one person cannot allow the dog on the couch while the other person does not. Rules and boundaries remain the same no matter who in the family is interacting with your dog. This also means that no poking, pulling the dogs hair or rough play - ever.
When training your dog certain behaviours, it is particularly important that everyone in the family also shows the dog what they want. Paying the dog for good behaviour through use of its food or high value rewards is crucial for your dog to understand which behaviours you want more of.
Great Commands for Your Kids to Master with Your Dog
It is important to teach the right commands depending on the age of your child and temperament of your dog.
Young Children (3 – 6)
Some commands that are great to teach children in this age range are:
The “come” command can be extremely dangerous with dogs who have high energy as they can come running too quickly and potentially knock your child to the ground. Please use caution.
Middle Childhood (7-11)
Since the attention span of the last age group will be limited it is best to start commands that involve a lot of patience and more mechanics to this group.
- Take It
- Leave It
At this point, your kid(s) can train your dog at the level of an adult and can even help the younger kids (if there are any) with their training.
Teaching Your Children Warning Signs
This cannot be overlooked. Understanding your dogs stress signals can prevent bites. All too often owners and especially unsupervised children have been bit by their own dogs. Not the dog’s fault.
Knowing when to stop an interaction can not only save your dogs life but it can save your child from a lifetime of trauma. Some of the stress signals are:
- Constant licking of the lips
- Whale eye or side eye - your dog will turn its head away from you to try and avoid the current interaction.
- Raised hackles
- Freezing - this is usually the last sign a dog will give before they bite. If it has gotten to this point you need to rethink your interactions with your dog.
Regardless of how well-behaved you think your dog is, there is always a chance that it will get fed up with poor interactions or handling and turn on you and your family. This is why its very important to use the right training methods for your individual dog, learn to read and understand what its body language means and to NEVER leave children alone with your dog.
The iTK9 Way
If a dog is difficult or shows any aggression towards children or family members, a professional dog trainer should be contacted right away. We here at iTK9 train in multiple environments and concentrate on adjusting your dog’s behaviour and creating an environment where your family and your dog can be successful together.