Spring is officially here! As the days get longer, the opportunity to get outside with your pets has arrived. As you start getting back on track with a training and walking routine for your dogs, now is the perfect time to get your kids involved as well.
Not only does having children involved in training help improve the dog’s behavior, it also creates a lasting bond between the dog and the young trainer. In fact, it can be even more beneficial for young trainers; according to the Monks of New Skete, “studies have shown that children who help care for dogs often benefit…making friends more easily and generally developing a greater level of self-confidence.” Their book, How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend, goes on to stress that, “dogs need to be trained how to act around children, and vice versa.”
Starting a program that involves kids early and often can create a great friendship and a positive experience for everyone involved. You can begin trying fun, new commands once your dog and the young trainer have mastered basic commands together like sit, down, come, and heel. New commands like shake, play dead, jump, and carry are some of the fun additions available. Being able to show friends and family their dog’s ability to perform new tricks can be very exciting for young trainers.
On their YouTube page, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has several short 1-2 minute videos with simple training tips for new commands; one example is teaching the dog to jump through a hoop.
Once Fido has mastered the “sit” command,
- place a hoop on the ground and have him sit next to it, offering a treat when he does so calmly.
- Next, have the dog sit inside the hoop, again offering a treat when the dog is calm.
- Once he becomes comfortable with the hoop, set the hoop up vertically, while still touching the ground, and use a treat to encourage Fido to walk through the hoop.
- As he gains confidence walking through the hoop, begin slowly raising it off the ground inch by inch, while offering treats to encourage him to keep passing through.
- Continue this process until Fido has mastered jumping through the hoop.
It is suggested that you have an adult work new commands before the young trainer begins, in order to test the dog’s reaction and temperament. With a little research and a lot of practice, you can create a great bonding experience for your young trainers and their beloved pets.
The Monks of New Skete. How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend. New York. Little, Brown and Company. 2002. Print. Pages 177 & 180.
American Kennel Club. How To Teach Your Dog To Jump Through A Hoop. YouTube. Thy Cavagnaro. Nov 22, 2016.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJg8V1Nxk_c. Accessed March 13, 2019