The New Puppy Dilemma: How to Get Kids Involved in Training Your Rover
Photo via Pixabay by thatsphotography
Most children have a dream of running down the stairs on Christmas morning and finding below the boughs of the beautifully adorned tree, a little ball of fluffy puppy with a big red bow on it (adopted from a shelter or rescue group of course). It is the stuff childhood dreams are made of, but it also brings with it the stuff adult nightmares are filled with. Your child might see years of playtime and cuddling, while you envision all the ruined furniture, pet stains and barking that goes along with a new furry family member.
That adorable ball of fluff will get away with highway robbery because your little one lets them. However, there are some simple tips to making sure Fido becomes a good dog. It all starts with getting your little one involved in the puppy training from day one. Here are a few ways you can include your child in the puppy’s training.
Involving your child in your puppy’s obedience training is key to building an unbreakable bond between the two of them, but as with any task, you need to begin with the basics. Commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “lay down” are easily taught by kids with a little adult assistance. A pocket full of some tasty treats will also add a little incentive. With a little patience and diligence from both your child and yourself, you will be surprised by how quickly your puppy catches on and how excited your child is to be involved in it all.
Once your puppy has mastered the basics, it is time to get the kids involved in a daily care routine. Feeding time is an easy and fun activity for little ones to help with. By having your child put the food bowl down for your puppy, they have the rewarding experience of helping take care of their new friend. It also helps the puppy begin to learn its position in the family dynamic. Another benefit to your child helping with feeding time is teaching your puppy that your child is not a threat to their food, which can help prevent jealousy as your puppy grows up.
Another way your child can help with the daily care of your new puppy is be part of the exercise routine. It is recommended that adults always accompany a child on walks with the puppy for safety reasons. Avoiding busy streets in favor of a quiet neighborhood sidewalk or a dog-friendly park is a good place to start. These places can provide a quiet and safe environment for your child to learn to control the dog’s leash and the dog to learn to walk on one.
One of the most important things you can do is encourage your child and puppy to play together. The old adage that a tired dog is a good dog could not be more true! Your child’s involvement in the dog’s activities will help burn off the excessive amount of energy that puppies seem to have. In turn, Fido will be less likely to cause unwanted damage to your home. It just might also help wear out your kid a bit too. Simple games like hide-and-seek or fetch are great ways to teach your dog recall skills and to keep kids interested in your puppy’s well-being.
The biggest key to all of the tips above is for you, your child and your dog to have fun! Of course puppy training can be stressful at times, and if it all seems overwhelming then it might be best to enlist the help of a professional dog trainer. This can be a great place to start the process of making sure your child’s Christmas dream comes true.
Note From The Editor: The Michigan Animal Adoption Network does not advise anyone to “gift” puppies for birthdays, holidays, etc. Careful thought and consideration should be made before adopting a new member of the family. We heartily recommend training, so the animal is indeed a permanent addition to the family!