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How do you interact a child with a dog?
This happens on a gradient scale working from small efforts to larger ones to attain the goals you set out for the child and the dog. It is not something that happens instantaneously or even overnight.
So you will need to exercise patience when doing this.
You will want to supervise your child as well as have a trainer there to oversee this practice drill to ensure your child is safe and the proper introduction and interaction occurs. Do not do this alone or you and/or your dog will have losses and this creates a longer runway to accomplishing the goals you have set.
Before you begin a practice drill, have the child sit on a couch whether inside or out and with your supervision. Have the dog or puppy on a leash and allow it to approach your child and just become accustom to him/her and their scent. This will de-sensitize the dog or puppy. Do not allow the child to reach out, pet, hit or do anything that would startle or stimulate your dog or puppy.
Work on the following step one by one. As you accomplish to purpose of each drill and feel confident that it is done, move on to the next one and so on.
0. Holding your hand up for the child, have him/her hit your hand lightly. Explain to him/her that you are demonstrating what “impact” means in regards to communication. Now have him hit it a little harder and then a little harder to show how to control the force behind his communication. Let him know that this is an important skill when giving a command to a dog. It not only needs to hear the command (the skill is not shouting a command) it is to develop a sense of strength or power behind the communication to get the dog to execute it.
1. Now have him/her give a command to you to “sit”. Do this until you feel he/she has a good ability to deliver a command it will be followed through by the dog.
2. Have the dog prepared with the training collar on and have the child stand in one position, not moving around. Have the child hold its hands in a fist and up to his or her chest. Let the child know that you are practicing with the pup and want to teach it not to jump on him/her and in order to do this you need him to not react or move when the dog comes close.
3. Walk the dog up to the child and continue to walk past the child until the dog is calm and accustom to being near the child. This should minimally be done 10 times or more.
4. Walk the dog up to and around the child. Do a full circle around him/her and walk away. This should minimally be done 10 times or more.
Both the dog and the child should now be accustomed to each other.
5. Place the dog lying down on a small tether (approximately 3’ long), with training collar on and place it on a stationing mat. Do not give a command to the dog yet. Just physically lie him down.
- Have the child walk up at a regular pace, not slow, holding a small amount of dog “money” in its hand.
- The position of his/her hand is important. You want to put the attention of the dog onto the eyes of the child so using the treat, place it in alignment with his/her eyes – so that the dog’s attention is both on the treat and on the eyes.
- Have your child get the dog’s attention by calling its name.
- Tell your child to give the dog the command “Down” or “Lay Down”.
- Follow through by getting the dog to execute the command – if it doesn’t comply, give it a correction and a negative response until it does. If the dog complies with the command, tell it “good” and have the child pay the dog using the dog “money” in its hand. Repeat this practice until you feel both dog and child are competent at giving a command and getting it executed.
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