Dog Training Its Not Just For Adults Anymore

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Dog Training Its Not Just For Adults Anymore

by JoAnn Dahan

Whether you have a dog or a new puppy, it's important that your child becomes involved in the training and raising of that new family member. Children are eager to help in anyway they can so help them understand exactly what they need to do.

The minute the puppy comes home be sure your child learns how to feed and water the pup. Make a measuring cup by marking the amount the puppy needs to be fed with a permanent marker (you can purchase an inexpensive measuring cup from the dollar store). Remind them that once they feed the puppy dog to then leave them alone. Dogs can be very unpredictable when it comes to food so it's always safer to leave them alone. To help your child to learn how to water the dog, clean out a plastic mike carton and mark it with a permanent marker where it needs to be filled to. Just a side note: Labrador Retrievers love to be in water so you will not want to leave a full bowl of water on the floor all day. Once the carton is filled at the desired level, put the lid back on and show your child how to carry it over to the water dish and how to pour it in. Children as we know are very clever so it will only take showing them one or two times and they will have it down pat.

Next encourage your child to take the puppy out to go potty. Remember you do not want to carry your puppy or dog through the door. Instead have your doggy walk through the doorway he will then know to go to that door. Remember: Always go through the same door; this way the puppy or dog will learn which door to go to when he needs to go potty. Once outside use a call word such as, "Do it!" or "Hurry, Hurry!" This will stimulate the puppy or dog to go potty faster which is very useful when you go on a trip.

Children love to feel independent so put them in charge. Remind them that they need to be the "Boss" when working around the dog. Tell them to pretend that they are Superman or some character that commands respect. They do not have to raise their voice to the dog but rather show the dog they are the boss. It does not matter what age a child is, everyone in the household is above the dog on the totem pole.

Next, when training the dog keep the training sessions short - 5 minutes is long enough. Puppies and children have a lot in common, both have short attention spans, both have lots of energy, both are eager to please and both thrive on praise. By making the training sessions short and enabling children to achieve success, both puppies and their young trainers will be encouraged by their efforts and eager to continue the training. Make the training fun! Keep the puppy and child interested by clapping when a command is done correctly and encouraging when they have made a mistake, just remind them to start again. The puppy or dog won't mind, they are being given attention by a good pat or by saying a kind word or by giving them a treat. Dogs love to work, keep them working and they will be happy. Before a training session have your child say something like, "You want to work?!" Each time the dog hears those words he will be that much more excited to train. Also, choose a special toy to play with after each session then put the toy away until the next session. Each time your child goes to train, the puppy will see that special toy and know it's time to work and then have fun. After each training session be sure your child releases the puppy dog by saying, "Free or OK!" Your child is then giving the puppy dog the command that says it's OK to be free. Keep in mind that training should be fun and it is fun when you keep your attitude up and positive.

Encourage your child to train and raise the puppy dog. They can and will train the dog and you will be very surprised how quickly they achieve a successful session.

Some points to remind your child when training:

1. Be the boss. Always help your child be confident when training the dog (shoulders back,

head up).

2. Keep training sessions short. Only train for 5 minutes in one session.

3. When praising your dog use a treat, toy or a pat on the back to let the dog

know he is doing well.

4. Remember when potty training to walk your dog through the same door.

5. Make training fun! By putting a favorite toy away after each training session your dog will

look forward to working hard.

To learn more about dog training for children visit

JoAnn Dahan has been training dogs for over 15 years, her trainees include dogs that have appeared in print ads, on greeting cards, in major motion pictures, on TV shows (most recently Satuday Night Live, HBO's The Sopranos and IBM's Sliced Bread commercial). JoAnn is the author of a new children's puppy training book, Kids Training Puppies in 5 Minutes which includes a puppy training DVD. She also hosts and produces her own cable TV show on the east coast, Kids Training Puppies a show where families come to learn about dogs. JoAnn offers regular dog training classes from her home and has a special class just for children.

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