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Training Your Children To Train Your Dog

Are your kids trained to train your hunting dog?If you have children and you have ever trained a dog then you know how complicated the situation can get when the kids want to "play" too. Many children see training time simply as a time to play with the pups and don't fully understand the importance of commands and consistency. There will always be time for your kids to play with the dog but teaching them that the dog is learning can be quite the task. It takes just as much consistency working with your kids to help them understand that training time for the dog is a serious matter. It can be a fun, energetic, and wonderful bonding time for the kids as well as the dog when it is done properly.

My daughter is just about to be 4 yrs. old and finally came to the understanding about 6 months ago that working with the dogs is exactly that, work. I repeatedly told her that we were the teachers just like her pre-school teacher is to her and that the pups were in school too. She immediately took on sole responsibility of being the teacher and tried to explain to the pups what "time-out" meant. Of course that was frustrating and she finally asked me to assist her when the pups didn't listen. It was so sweet that she understood the basic idea of teaching them, but I had to first teach her what we wanted from the dogs and how to get it.

Along with our daughter we also have 9 nieces and nephews, ages ranging from 5-11 yrs old, that spend a great deal of time at our house and love playing with all the animals. It proved to be somewhat difficult explaining to all them the "rules" of playing with the dogs as I put it. There is always a designated "play" time with the dogs but I felt it was important to help them understand that the dogs are learning and need to follow the same commands from everyone. For the older children it wasn't so bad, but the younger ones would get so excited that it didn't matter what they were saying to the dogs. "Come back here!" and "heah dog!" became their most popular commands.

So what we decided to do what have a little training session for the kids. We have a large picnic table at the edge of our backyard and we sat all the older kids down, went through the basic commands, and showed them what we expect from the dog. We of course used our more advanced Labs so the kids could see what the dog is suppose to do.

Then we got out one of the pups to let them see what kind of problems could arise and how to correct the dog. It was a quick lesson and all the kids did great. Of course they had a couple "heah you dog!"
moments but we were right there to correct the kids! For a long time we made sure that one of us, either me or my husband, was with the kids to help them along. Then as time went on they became very responsible about it and were using the commands that we taught them.

I can now trust them to properly work with the dogs and have no worries that in our next training session the dog will want to here some weird command that I don't even know.

With the younger kids it took much more time and much more correcting! It was a longer process but basically the same as the older kids. We explained time and again that this is their school and we are the teachers, but the teachers have to always tell the students the same thing so they don't get confused. In the end it was really worth the time and effort of teaching the kids the proper way of doing things. It is the cutest thing to watch a 3yr. old, 5yr. old, and 6yr. old training a puppy using the commands of an adult! We have people ask us all the time, "how do they know this stuff?" It's a simple answer, because we taught them.

It is important not only to teach your children the proper way of working a dog but anyone that is going to be around them on a regular basis. Even if that means explaining to friends and family the basic commands that your hunting partner knows. Dogs learn from consistency and positive reinforcement which is exactly what they will get if everyone is on the same page. It is worth all the effort when people see your dog doing a wonderful job in the field or during free time with the family, and it makes for a companion that you can trust understands his/her surroundings.

Kelly Olson
Professional Gun Dog Breeder

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