The kids are home from school. The dogs are with you all day. And you just need to have a zoom meeting – again – for work. Can we get a little peace and quiet, already? What if we structure some fun for the kids and dogs to work together? And, what if at the end of the day, both are relaxed, happy and the dog has better behavior than before? Can your kids really train the dog?
A few years ago I was playing the game, Doggone Crazy with a group of young people. (If you haven’t seen this game, check it out, here: http://www.doggonecrazy.ca/ highly recommended) The children, aged 8-12, were having a great time laughing their way through correct answers about dog body language, appropriate interactions with unfamiliar dogs and learning along the way. One question stumped them, though – it was a true or false question: T or F – Adults make better dog trainers than children. To my surprise, they all agreed that adults were better trainers – and they were wrong!
I can validate that answer. Working with kids in my puppy classes and with families in homes, both in person and over Zoom. Give me a 10-year old with affection for the family dog, time to train and a pocket full of dog treats and I will give you a better trained dog and a happier household in 2 weeks. Children make excellent dog trainers and are proud to accomplish goals that excite the whole family.
Safety rules and common sense still apply – if you have a dog with any aggression issues, don’t turn him over to your child for training, for goodness’ sake! However, if you just need Bella to come when called, go into her crate on cue, sit for greetings and learn a few parlor tricks, see if your responsible 9-14 year old child has any interest. Chances are, they will make great gains in just a few days. I believe children can do at least as well as their parents – and often they do even better!
The relationship between your kid and the family dog could be a lifesaver, especially now. If you’d like some practical tips for getting your dog and kid off to a great start with training, games and enriching activities, reach out – I’m happy to help
(Some of this content originally published by the author while working at Willamette Humane Society. Used by permission.)