How to Get Kids Involved While Training Your Dog at Home
In order to properly train your dog at home, you need to establish a clear, consistent training routine for your pup.
- Setting firm boundaries.
- Sticking to a set routine (meal times, potty breaks, walks,etc.).
- Strategically rewarding your dog for good behavior.
- Following through with time outs when your pup struggles to listen.
- Maintaining a calm environment so your dog can focus and learn.
However, if you have kids at home, I know firsthand that following through with all of these things can be a challenge.
Kids are full of energy and sometimes have a hard time following instructions. This can throw a kink in your routine as you work hard to train your dog.
Regardless, it’s important to get everyone in your home on the same page when it comes to dog training—no matter how small your kids are. And the best way to do that is to get your kids involved in the process.
Here are a few suggestions on what you can do to get your kids involved while making sure they understand the importance of following the dog training rules…
#1: Hold a Family Meeting
Before any dog training techniques are implemented, it’s a good idea to host a family meeting to clearly explain what you’re going to be doing and why following through with a training program is so important.
In terms of smaller children, you should lead the conversation in a way that will resonate with them. For example you might say to your child…
“You don’t like it when Max the dog jumps up in your face. It scares you. So, you are going to teach Max not to jump on you anymore, but we will need your help to teach him.”
Having this kind of conversation ensures that your kid understands the “why” behind why you’re making new rules for the dog in your home. It will hopefully also get them excited about helping you with the process.
#2: Make a Rules Chart for your Child
I know what you’re thinking…
“I thought we were training the dog in our house?”
Of course, the end goal is to train your pup. But, in the process of training a dog, often times kids need to be “trained” as well!
Perhaps your dog has a habit of jumping on the table to get food because your kid feeds your pup at the dinner table. Or maybe your dog runs wild around the house and gets all worked up because your kids run and scream and chase each other around.
Kids will always be kids…but it’s important that they understand that some of their behaviors negatively impact their four-legged sibling.
To get rid of these behaviors, sit down with your kid and make a rules chart. List out all the things that your kid is not allowed to do that could negatively impact your dogs training. Then set appropriate consequences for their actions if they break the rules.
Doing this isn’t meant to be mean or make your child feel bad.
But, when your family shares a home with a dog, there has to be mutual respect and it’s very important for kids to understand boundaries when it comes to interacting with dogs so that everyone stays safe and happy.
Without putting rules in place, you’re going to have a much harder time training your dog.
If your kids sometimes have a hard time following rules, I want you to remember this…
Kids will often mirror your behavior…and actions often speak louder than words.
Modeling calm, quiet behavior around your dog might help your kids learn how to behave around your pup in tandem with a rules chart.
#3: Get Your Kid Excited About Helping with Dog Training
Kids tend to focus better when they get excited about something. This is why I recommend that you do your best to get your kid excited about the dog training process.
Perhaps this means allowing your child to be the one to pass out a treat when your dog is following a command. Or maybe you set a goal for your pup and allow your kid to pick out a dog toy at the store once your dog masters a new behavior.
When your kid gets excited and feels involved in the process, it makes training easier on everyone.
#4: Understand Your Kids Limits
This next one is VERY important!
It’s vital to understand that not all children have the capacity to be involved in your dog training process.
For example, kids under the age of two will probably have a hard time recognizing the importance of how their behavior impacts your ability to train your dog. Or, you might have a kid with a disability that isn’t able to display proper behavior while interacting with an untrained dog.
While I prefer to have the whole family involved, there are certain cases (like I just listed above) where it’s sometimes easier to remove your kid from process until your dog is properly trained.
I’m not saying that your kids can’t be around your dog. I’m simply saying that there are times (like meal time if your dog deals with food aggression or when you have visitors over if your dog gets over excited) that separating your dog and your kid is very important.
At the end of the day you simply have to do your best. As long as the adults in your home are following the Dog Calming Code rules perfectly, then your kids shouldn’t have that big of an impact on the training process.
Don’t over stress. If you get too caught up in trying to make your kids follow the rules perfectly, it can negatively impact your training program.
#5: Do the Best You Can Within Your Unique Circumstances
Much like raising a child, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to ensuring that training your dog with kids at home goes perfectly.
It’s up to you as a parent to evaluate your kids maturity and capabilities and develop a routine that will cater to your kids and your fur babies needs.
Raising both kids and dogs in your home can be a challenging and beautiful experience at the same time.
Don’t give up! Stick to a quality training routine (like The Dog Calming Code), set boundaries, and keep working hard. I promise you it will all pay off at the end if you put the time and energy towards training your pup!
Looking for an Effective Training Solution?
If you’re not sure where to even get started with training your dog, I want to encourage you to check out my program called The Dog Calming Code.
This program uses kind, gentle methods that you and your pup with love. The best part…it’s simple enough to use that your kids can also get involved!
~Doggy Dan 🙂