Why You MUST Include the Kids in Your Dog’s Obedience Training
It’s such an exciting time when your family gets a new puppy or dog! Whether it’s your first one or you are expanding your canine family, a new family pet can bring so much joy, especially to the kids. And while you should encourage your children to love and care for the dog, it is equally important to insist that they be a part of the dog obedience training. Dogs who do not learn to obey the children in a family can cause numerous issues that become harder to break as time goes on.
It’s important to teach children about a dog’s natural behavior. Just like people, understanding where someone comes from helps us understand their choices and behaviors. Dogs are descendants of wolves and, depending on the breed, still carry many of their underlying personality traits and tendencies. Introducing your children to “pack mentality” and the importance of establishing leadership early in the relationship is one the most important steps you can take to ensure a healthy relationship between dog and child.
Dog obedience training reminds children to respect the dog. Boundaries are a vital ingredient to every healthy relationship. While you are teaching your children about the proper ways to ensure the dog respects them and sees them as a leader, you are also teaching them that their dog is smart, capable and has natural tendencies that must be recognized and respected.
Positive communication avoids disrespect, abuse and lashing out. We all know what it feels like to be misunderstood – unable to get our point across. It is frustrating, maddening and can cause us to react in inappropriate ways. Communication is everything in a relationship. It is no different in the relationship between dog and owner. If a child doesn’t know what commands and hand gestures will prompt the desired response out of their dog, they may react in anger, verbally and even physically. This is very unhealthy and can quickly harm the relationship. Likewise, if a child cannot read a dog’s communication signals, the dog may lash out violently, hurting the child physically and emotionally. Establishing positive communication early in your dog obedience training is foundational.
Above all, dog obedience training teaches your children about responsibility. Parents often joke about the fact they will end up taking care of the dog that their child so desperately wants. While we all chuckle, the truth of that statement is a bit sad, because your child is missing out on a very valuable lesson in responsibility. At some point in their life, they will be responsible for people other than themselves. Caring for a dog is ultimately caring for a life – a responsibility that children should definitely be a part of.
Including your children in your dog obedience training will ensure that they stay safe and establish a positive, long lasting relationship with your canine family member, while maintaining peace and harmony in your home. Enjoy your new family member!
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