Having children participate in their dog's tricks training has multiple benefits. Children learn how intelligent their dogs are whether they're puppies or adult dogs. But while understanding that their dog is not only intelligent, that they are capable of learning, they also realize that their dog, like themselves, needs to be treated with patience and understanding when learning a new skill. And that just like they want learning and training to be fun, so does your puppy.
It also gives children a way of interacting with their dogs that is controlled and not too wild. A lot of kids interact with their dogs in a way that makes dogs uncomfortable. It also gives the dog an opportunity to see children in their family as coaches and the givers of great things. Like enrichment, training and yummy treats.
Bottom line, involving children in tricks training is great for relationship building and appreciation on both ends of the leash.
Many children make great reward based trainers. They're really good with a clicker and those timing skills. And they're really good about delivering the treats on time. Other kids sometimes get a little bit frustrated when their puppy or adult dog doesn't do what they want them to do. Or that the dog gets confused. That's why its really helpful to have a parent or an adult work with the dog a little bit to give them an idea of what we're trying to train. So the adult, or the parent, gets the training in motion and then they bring the children into the training process. This way the dog has an idea of what it's supposed to do, they're more apt to be successful and the children can have a lot of fun participating in the tricks training game.
Emily and I have created training games for her dog, Tinker, that have become family activities that everyone can get involved in. One of the funnest tricks training games we've incorporated Abby, Emile's daughter, into Tinker's training is doing the hoop game. We are using our arms as a hoop and we use Emile's arms because they're wide enough and big enough for Tinker to fit through, and then Abby acts as the trainer. She's on the finish line. So once Tinker goes through Emile's arms Abby is the one who delivers the treat.
Being the trainer and the deliverer of the treat gets Tinker to be really excited about participating in this game and is a really good relationship builder for Abby and Tinker. This is a great trick for the whole family because everybody has a role to play. Tinker has a really good time and gets exercise. And when Abby gets a little bit bigger she can be the hoop.