Very often a family dog ends up being the children's best friend and they love spending loads of time together. Sharing your home with a dog also teaches children a lot about responsibility which is always a very positive thing that sets them up brilliantly for later life. Kids form very strong bonds with a family dog which can be reinforced even more by them teaching their four-legged best friend a few tricks. It also means your dog learns to listen and respect the kids.
Younger kids can teach a family dog some great tricks too, however, no child under the ages of seven or eight should ever be left unsupervised with a dog, no matter how kind they happen to be. Sometimes silly accidents happen which could include a pooch knocking a child over which could end up scaring them more than anything which is something to be avoided at all costs. Kids need to be confident around dogs but our four-legged friends need to respect small people too!
Teaching kids to call a family dog is a great way of making sure your pet respects the children. It also helps younger children get to grips with your dog's name. Every time, your pet comes when your child calls them, they need to be rewarded with a favourite healthy treat which your child should give them by holding it in the flat of their hands.
Another great trick to teach children is to get a family dog to "sit" when they ask them to. You need to make sure your child is holding a healthy treat in their hand and to hold it just above your pet's nose whilst at the same time resting their other hand on the dog's rump.
Next, your child has to slowly move the treat upwards whilst you press down gently on your pet's rump, saying the "sit" command. As soon as your pet sits down, you need to teach your child to say "good dog" and to give them their treat. You should only repeat this 5 times at any one time and to do this several times a week.
In order to teach your kids how to get your dog to "stay", you need to make sure your four-legged friend is already in the sitting position. Once they are sitting down, you need to get your child to say the word "stay" as you both back away making sure you don't get too far. If your pet starts to move, you have to get them to sit down again and then repeat the process explaining to your child why it's important to do this.
Once your dog is in the sitting position again, you need to teach your child to wait a few seconds before repeating the "stay" command and then back away slowly again. If your pet doesn't move, you need to teach your child to give them lots of praise and a favourite healthy treat. Again, you should only do this 4 or 5 times in any one day so that your child (or dog) doesn't get too bored with having to do the same thing over and over again. You need to teach children the importance of patience and repetition when training a dog.
Together with your child, you need to walk a little distance away from your dog before calling them to "come" to you. You need to teach your child to use your pet's name when they call them. If your dog comes when your child calls them, they need to be given a reward and lots of praise. Kids need to be taught that praising a dog is just as important as giving them a favourite food treat.
Ask your child to get your dog to sit down first. Once your pet is sitting down, show them how to gently lift your dog's paw with their hand and to say the word "shake". If your dog gets it right, they need to be given lots of praise and given a favourite healthy treat.
You should only repeat this 4 or 5 times and together with your child repeat the process several times a week. Pretty soon, your dog will lift their paw as soon as your child says the command "shake" and as soon as they do, your child has to give them a little treat and to tell your dog how good they are.
Another great trick children and family dogs can have a lot of fun with on a rainy day when they have to stay indoors is "find it". It's a bit like canine hide & seek which all children and dogs love. You need to get the children to hide a favourite treat somewhere in the house and then give your dog the command to "find it".
It's a great way of teaching children that a dog's sense of smell is so much better than ours. The best way to start out is to leave the treat in plain sight and do this a few times before hiding it away so that your dog has to work in order to find it!
It would be fair to say that most people don't enjoy it when dogs jump at them so it's important they are taught not to do this. You need to teach the kids to say "down" every time your dog jumps up. If your dog doesn't listen, it's important to teach children to turn their backs on your pooch and to wait until they have settled down before repeating the process.
If the kids are old enough to take your family dog out for a walk on their own, it's important they know how to get your pet to "heel" because it is far too dangerous for them to go out with a dog that pulls on their leads. Once your dog has their lead on, you need to show your kids how to hold it close to their sides whilst they say the command "heel".
You also need for the kids to understand the importance of walking slowly and to reward your dog every time they obey the "heel" command with lots of praise by saying "good dog".
Another command that kids should learn is "hush" which is useful if you own a family dog that likes the sound of their own voices a little too much. If your dog obeys the command when your children say it, they must be rewarded straight away but his has to be done calmly so your pet doesn't get too excited again which could result in them barking!
One of the greatest tricks a child can teach a family dog to do is fetch their leads when it's time to go out for a walk! Both kids and dogs love this trick and it's quite easy to teach them how to do this. The first thing you need to do is show your children how to put the lead next to your dog before giving them the command to "fetch your lead".
As soon as your dog picks their lead up, your child has to reward them with lots of praise and a favourite healthy treat. Next you need to get your child to walk towards the door and to give the command "come". The process should be repeated 4 to 5 times each time rewarding your dog before taking them out for a nice long walk!