How to Train a child safe dog ; Part 3

All games have rules
Dogs and kids can have a lot of fun playing together but all games have rules:
DO:
Teach your dog to retrieve. Bringing toys back to you is a great way for kids and dogs to spend constructive time together and wear themselves out .
Play hide and seek by hiding toys or even members of the family around the house and sending the dog to ‘find!’
Teach your dog an ‘on’ and ‘off’ switch if you want to play ‘tug’. Stop play every minute or so and ask for a ‘sit’ or ‘down’. You can reward a correct response by continuing play or with a treat.
Make certain children stick to ‘the rules’ by supervising games as necessary.
Quit play immediately if the dog seems to be getting over excited or if teeth touch human flesh (even accidentally).
Make sure kids spend equal amounts of quiet time with the dog such as grooming. The presence of children should not = high excitement.
DON’T
Allow your puppy to bite/wrestle/tug directly on human skin – all play should be directed onto toys.
Allow adults, teenagers or children to play wrestling games with the dog.
Allow games of chasing which may encourage nipping and biting.
Allow young children to play with any dog unsupervised.

EDUCATE both the Child and the Dog
A dog is neither a babysitter nor a toy. If you have children when you get a dog, don’t kid yourself – you are really taking on the task of training two species at the same time. Children need to be taught that dogs feel pain, fear, affection and joy just as people do. Dogs need to be taught human ‘etiquette’ such as appropriate house manners, greetings and games. But what a wonderful opportunity! Isn’t this one of the reasons you wanted a dog? The dog becomes a focal point for demonstrating the value of patience, kindness, consistency and genuine praise – all important lessons in life. The presence of a dog has been shown to provide children with an increased sense of security, comfort, companionship, self-esteem, improved communication skills, a feeling of acceptance and a greater empathy for all living things – and – as if that weren’t enough dogs are fun. In a sometimes all too serious world they remind adults and kids alike to take time-out to sniff the wind, feel the sun and smile!

Article courtesy of Karin Larsen Bridge, owner of Get S.M.A.R.T. Dog Training, Sydney
You can also follow this and other articles at my publishing site

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