By PETbc Childrens Education Department
Training a puppy can be a rewarding experience for both children and their doggy companions. However, it is essential to ensure the child’s safety and the puppy’s well-being throughout the process.
Here are twenty tips to help a child train a puppy:
- Supervision: Always have an adult supervise the training sessions to ensure safety and provide guidance.
- Positive Reinforcement: Teach the child to use treats, praise and affection to reward good behaviour.
- Short Sessions: Keep training sessions short and age-appropriate, usually around 10-15 minutes for younger children.
- Consistency: Be consistent with training cues to avoid confusion for both the child and the puppy.
- Learn the Basics: Start with basic obedience training cues such as “sit”, “stay” and “come”.
- Use Hand Signals: Incorporate hand signals along with verbal cues to enhance communication.
- Patience: Teach the child that patience is key; puppies may not catch on right away.
- One Training Cue at a Time: Focus on teaching one training cue at a time to avoid overwhelming the puppy.
- Avoid Punishment: Children should not scold a puppy, though they may say “No” when appropriate.
- Clicker Training: Consider using a clicker to reinforce good behaviour.
- Socialization: With adult supervision, encourage the child to expose the puppy calmly to different people, animals and environments.
- Regular Feeding Schedule: Maintain a consistent feeding schedule to help with toilet training.
- Toilet Training: Teach the child the importance of taking the puppy outside regularly, especially after meals or at playtime.
- Crate Training: Explain the concept of a crate as a safe space.
- No Rough Play: Stress the importance of gentle and appropriate play with the puppy. Over excitement can lead to the development of unwanted behaviours in the puppy.
- Distraction-Free Environment: Choose a quiet area for training sessions to minimize distractions.
- Train in Different Locations: Once the basics are mastered, practice commands in various settings.
- Age-Appropriate Tasks: Assign tasks that are suitable for the child’s age and abilities.
- Consistent Schedule: Maintain a routine for feeding, exercise and training to create stability for the puppy.
- Seek Professional Help: If needed, consider enrolling in a puppy training class led by a professional trainer from the Guild of Dog Trainers www.godt.uk
Remember that the key to successful puppy training is patience, consistency and positive reinforcement. Make sure that both the child and the puppy enjoy the training process and that it strengthens their bond.
If you have any concerns or serious problems arise like mild aggression, snapping or growling consult with a canine Behaviourist from the Canine & Feline Behaviour Association www.cfba.uk