Training With Younger Children

Discussion in 'Training Challenges' started by cdn98y, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. cdn98y Member

    Hi. My name is Cathy and I'm new to this group. We have a 3 1/2 month old Golden Retriever, Harley, and two boys 4yo and 6yo. My husband and I are having some frustration right now figuring out how to manage the puppy with the boys, mainly jumping and play biting. The boys have a tendancy to "tease" the dog by running around and/or throwing dog toys out of reach (dog is clipped to crate or me). Would love to get some feedback and tips on this subject. Thanks!
    running_dog and MaryK like this.

  2. brody_smom Experienced Member

    My first instinct is to tell you to train your boys similarly to the way you train your dog. You need to be very clear about your criteria, reward for the right response, ignore the wrong one. Set your puppy/boy up for success, so keep toys out of sight/reach until you say it's play time. If they play appropriately, then the fun continues. If they break the rules (i.e. teeth on skin, jumping up, teasing puppy) the game is over for 10-20 seconds, then try again. Your boys are old enough to be taught what is good for the puppy and what is not, so they need to be held responsible if they treat him badly. Try explaining how Harley feels when they tease him, help them see things from his perspective. "How would you feel if your brother had a really great toy and he wouldn't share it with you?" Something along those lines.
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  3. running_dog Honored Member

    By 4 and 6 years old there will be some places and behaviours in your house that are completely off limits to your boys. Ask yourself what they are? Why are they off limits? How did you train them? Rank teasing the puppy up there with not climbing on the outside of an upstairs windowsill, not drawing on the walls and furniture using felt tip pen and not sticking fingers in an electric socket.

    Rather than having a constant struggle with expectations could you designate one room as a play room (and keep the toys in there) where the boys have scheduled and supervised play with the puppy. The rest of the time they have to ignore the puppy to earn the play times.

    Give the boys a way you want them to interact with the puppy rather than correcting them when they get it wrong, however hard it is you need to catch them being good, say, "that was amazing how you filled the puppys water dish/ waited for him to sit before petting him/ brought his toy back when it fell out of reach, you are going to be fantastic with the puppy if you keep on like that. If you keep on like that I think I might need you to help with his training X,Y or Z later today" Try to get them on side and involved with his training - sit, down and paw are easy for kids to help teach.
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  4. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Good advice above. Do keep in mind that your puppy is trying so hard to figure out this human world, and what the rules are, and what's ok, and what's not. He doesn't have his mom and brothers and sisters to teach him "in dog speak" anymore, but is now trying to figure out human communication and body language. If your boys are teasing him, and at the same time you're trying to teach him not to jump up or play bite, he's going to get very confused. It still may be cute now, but I guarantee you that in another 2 months when he's bigger, stronger, and his teeth are a combo of adult and puppy teeth, it will no longer be cute. Great advice above to have the kids help you, really praise them when you catch them doing something right - just as hopefully you're doing with the puppy! (y) (That works wonders, by the way - for both species :LOL: - huge praise rewards for the kids <and maybe extra video time or ?> and a big "good boy!!" and a treat reward for the puppy). Explain why throwing the dog's toys out of reach isn't nice (they're old enough to understand) and ask to not to that anymore, and instead encourge nice play, helping with simple training (as Running dog suggesting above), and maybe find some fun training games (such as round robin recall, standing in a circle maybe in the living room and saying his name and calling the dog to each one of you, "Harley, come!" giving a treat, then the next one calls the dog, gives a treat, then the next one...). Games like that get the kids involved in training, the dogs learns a good recall to everyone in the family, and it's a win/win for everyone.
  5. MaryK Honored Member

    Great advice given in the above posts. Haven't anything to add, except my Mom trained me as well as the dog:) It does work!
    Ripleygirl, running_dog and cdn98y like this.
  6. cdn98y Member

    Thank you for your insights and direction. It can get overwhelming training both the puppy and the kids. I like the limit setting and helping them to see things through the puppy's perspective. I'll keep you posted on our progress.
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  7. cdn98y Member

    Fantastic directions! Thank you for helping me get more clear about this aspect of training. It helps to have the visuals and comparisons. I think we have everything in place it's just been a little out of focus on how to manage it all. I appreciate your guidance and specific suggestions. I'm looking forward to our week!
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  8. cdn98y Member

    Thank you for your advice. I really like the idea of training games and know the boys would enjoy that as well.
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  9. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Here's a video that might explain further about training games and give you some ideas:
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  10. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I love that. It is a great encouragement for parents to not only include their children, but give them a leadership role in caring for and training the dog. Every little child wants to feel like they are grown up and have important responsibilities. When the parent models the proper way to train the dog, the child will automatically emulate them, much like how they play "house" with their dolls or siblings.
    MaryK and running_dog like this.
  11. running_dog Honored Member

    I know what you mean I feel like that most of the time without having a new puppy thrown into the mix :)

    We had a couple of children visiting yesterday and I thought of you as after a little guidance I watched them develop their own games with the dogs. Eventually we had to step in and tell them to give the dogs a break because they were all getting a bit over excited. However before that happened one of the games the children thought of was to put a treat on the floor in front of the dog and step back put down another treat, step back... and so on. The dog would follow the trail of treats (and ultimately the the child) they had a lot of fun. Games can be so so simple and yet create such an amazing bond. That is a really cool game that over time can be developed into an exciting "find that child" challenge for your dog.
    MaryK likes this.

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