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Dog Training: How To Make Dog Training A Family Affair (1)
Teaching good manners to your dog is not just something to be left up to the adults of the house. Although mom and dad will usually bear the most responsibility for the family dog's training, including children in the process is important, too.
Your needs to know that it must respond and behave politely for all members of the family. Plus, giving the kids the opportunity to really help with their dog's education can be a wonderful learning experience for them. Being involved in training a dog can teach children patience and compassion - and succeeding at the task will promote positive self-esteem.
Dog's don't generally view children as authority figures so any training techniques that rely on physical corrections tend to backfire when kids try to pursue them. Children are usually more successful using reward-based training techniques such as lure-and-reward or clicker training methods. This works better for everyone, because most dogs tend to work hard to earn treats, toys, and other enjoyable rewards.
Any family member can take part in training, feeding, and grooming your dog just make sure they're up to the job. Most children younger than ten (and some older kids, as well) need ongoing supervision and parental support to keep them on track.
Don't expect more involvement than your child is mature enough to give, and remember to check daily that their jobs have been done your pet's safety and comfort are at stake. Yes, children need to learn responsibility but this should never come at the expense of an animals welfare.
It's usually best for an adult to start the dog on any new lesson before adding young co-trainers. That way the dog has a general idea of what to do and the children won't be starting from scratch. Training will go more smoothly this way and the kids will experience less frustration and greater success.
To get kids involved in your dog's training, first let them watch you working with the dog, then show them how to do it themselves. Stand by, at least in the beginning, to coach and support and to get the lesson back on track, if necessary.
Some children actually turn out to be better trainers than many adults. If your child is one of these marvels, celebrate this success by allowing him or her to take on more of the training and teach the dog new tricks and tasks. Many positive dog trainers now encourage children to fully participate in their obedience classes so check around - there may be one that you, your dog, and your kids can attend together.
BONUS : Dog Training: How To Make Dog Training A Family Affair (2)
Making dog training a family affair is a fun and rewarding experience for everyone. To start, you must commit to declaring the rules that will govern your dog's behavior, and let everyone know that these rules must be followed by everyone - because family-wide consistency is essential to achieve good results from training.
Establishing The Rules
Make sure everyone knows and follows the same rules with your dog, or your best-laid training plans will unravel. If one person allows the dog to jump on them or play rough games, for example, your dog will try these behaviors with other people. And when your family isn't consistent about keeping the rules, don't expect your dog to either!
The best time to establish rules is before you bring your puppy or adult dog home. That way, everyone can be consistent right from the start. Chances are pretty good, however, that if you're reading this article now, you probably already have your dog at home with you. So the best thing to do is to start right away establish your good dog rules today, make sure the whole family knows what they are, and have everyone agree to follow them, starting immediately.
Family Meeting Time
Call the whole family together to create a list of the important rules regarding the dog. Encourage each person, including the children, to offer ideas and describe how they'd like the dog to behave so everyone will feel included.
Discuss reasons for each rule you decide to implement so its importance is understood. Big rules such as not feeding from the table or the types of play that will be allowed must be the same for everyone.
Write down your list of agreed-upon rules and let the children illustrate the page by drawing pictures of your dog being good. The more personal involvement each family member has with the list of dog rules, the more likely everyone will be to abide by them. When your list is finished and illustrated, post it in a central location, such as the refrigerator, so no one forgets the rules (or pretends to).
I cannot stress enough just how important it is for your children (and everyone else in the house) to all have the same mindset and understanding of how you want your dog handled during training. In the next article we will discuss how to teach the rules, how to initiate training games, and how to keep training consistent all of which will fail if you do not set the entire family on the same path.