How to Get the Kids Involved in Training the Dog
The kids wanted a dog. Tale as old as time, right? And they literally begged you for one for years...
And one magical day, the dog of their dreams FINALLY appeared. So now they’re dog owners!!
But…. where did everyone go?
They're with their friends.
They’re at sports practice.
Where they’re NOT is home with their dog.
But you are. You and your loyal canine companion…..that your KIDS wanted…..
I’m sure you’ve been there before. (Maybe you’re there right now!)
So… If you’re looking for ways to get your kids involved in dog training, look no more.
In this episode, Sarah and I share tips and tricks to make dog training fun and engaging for both your kids and the dog.
Spoiler alert - these tips are for all ages, from toddler to high school!
And, as a dog trainer, I know I’m biased, but I gotta say, if you notice your kids have a passion for dogs, please encourage them to follow it! Being a dog trainer is so very rewarding.
OK, let’s get to it!
It’s All About Building a Great Relationship
Obviously, you must highly supervise toddlers, but there’s no reason younger kids can’t engage with your dog.
For example, you can ask the dog to do something and have your toddler toss them a treat! The kids will definitely love seeing a dog chase after (or catch!) the treat… And your dog will understand that good things come from your kid!
If your kid’s talking, you can also say the command together. The kid will be overjoyed to see they “have the power” and your dog will get a sense your kids are involved in the training process. I did this a lot with my kids, and it’s really a great relationship builder.
For grade school kids…
This relationship still requires your supervision, but now your child can feed the dog! You know how we love to use our dog’s food for training, so this is a perfect time to teach ‘bowl games’! Or maybe they’re the one who puts the leash on the dog before you go out for a walk.
There’s also a lot of training games you can do at this point. We can ask kids to do a few more complex commands, and even start teaching them the proper way to play *with* a dog with toys (there’s a right way and a WRONG ‘you’re risking getting bitten!’ way).
Your kids can now also be involved in the grooming process… And you know what? When they get a bit older, they’ll know exactly what to do and can possibly even take over that very important task one day.
For middle and high school kids…
Sarah says this is the most fun age, but she didn’t have to raise kids so she has no idea how challenging it can be!!
I’ll admit, it’s super fun to have older kids come to class and see them get really involved with the training. Now they can do more activities, especially the more complex and active training sequences.
Older kids can also volunteer and walk the dogs at your local shelter. This is a great opportunity to get some hands-on experience AND give back to the community, just be sure that the organization is giving sufficient training to everyone before they start handling dogs.
This is also the age where you can start seeing kids who have a real passion for dogs. These are the kids who go above and beyond: They’re coming to all your classes, they're emailing us (trainers!), they're reading about dogs on the internet… Simply, they get a lot more involved than your typical kid.
As a dog trainer whose kids are both working in this amazing field, I have one thing to say… If you see this passion developing, please encourage it! Working with dogs is SUPER rewarding on many levels!
And no, we’re not trying to get all your kids to become dog trainers… Or are we?!
Join us today for the full episode to get ALL the tips and tricks - we’ll teach you what are “keys” and how to use them right!