Teaching Kids To Train The Dog

Clicker training is known to be family friendly. The question that stands out is how old do your kids have to be before they can participate. This is a question I get asked a lot and most people are surprised by the answer. So I decided to go into detail about what your kids can do at what age. I hope this helps you to figure out which stage is best for your child.
The most obvious age that kids can’t really help is under 1 year old. However, between 1-4 is a good age to involve your children in the training process. Obviously, in this situation, we are talking about basic training. Sit, down, stay etc. The earlier you start involving the kids the easier it will be for them. It will also teach your dog that she has to listen to the kids too. Starting early will help your child learn to respect animals.
What can your toddler do to help with training? Well with clicker training we use reward markers and treats to get the behavior. If your child will follow instructions you can teach your child to toss a treat to your dog when they hear the clicker.
What I do with my 2-year-old is I get him to say the cue, I mark the behavior, then he gets to toss the treat for the dog. This allows him to participate in training and at the same time my dog learns to listen to him.
If your child is older you can teach them how to use a reward marker. Usually, around 5 your child is old enough to understand instructions. Not just follow instructions. Since they are able to comprehend more you can explain to them how to use a marker to train a simple behavior. Things like sit, down, come. As they master these behaviors you can continue on to more complicated ones if your child is into it. My 6-year-old knows the rules for the marker and is working on a few simple behaviors. All I have to do is supervise and guide. These behaviors are: sit, down, stay. etc. Nothing too complex.
If your child is really into training you can have them help more and more as they get used to it. Work on coming when called or leash manners in the backyard is a great family-friendly activity!
The importance is to start slow and be patient.
Do your kids help with training your dog? Do they enjoy it? Share your stories in the comments below!!
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