For the last year I have been working with clients on an exclusive dog training programme designed to work specifically with families with children and their new dogs!
This is a 6 week course which I teach in the family home, and it runs alongside homework challenges and handouts (for kids and parents too) an online programme for kids and parents and a handy ebook.
I have met some great families, kids and dogs along the way and wanted to share their stories with you!
MARSHALL AND THE APPLEYARD FAMILY
The Appleyard family got in touch when they adopted Marshall, a 9 week old Cockerpoo. Marshalls new family included Jack aged 4 and Lucy aged 3.
Sarah Appleyard had already introduced Marshall to his crate as a safe and happy place to be to rest and keep out of the way of the children, and the children were brilliant at respecting his space and leaving him alone when he was in there.
Marshall was confident and happy on his walks, and he was starting to get the hang of toilet training. Sarah had been using puppy pads indoors but on my suggestion we moved them outside to encourage toileting out there.
The children were already able to ask Marshall to Sit and he would take a treat from them as a reward. Jack and Lucy loved being able to do this as it gave them control if Marshall got giddy!
Both of the children were happy to join in with the training, and they loved the training games that we practised with them to teach Marshall how to stay calm and settled even when the children were running round.
We had great fun playing our own versions of musical chairs, musical statues and hide and seek!
Marshall is well on his way to being the perfect family pet!
DUKE AND THE KERR FAMILY
The Kerr family adopted 13 week old Duke, the Hungarian Viszla. Rebeccas children were Nancy aged 6, Stanley aged 5 and Albert aged 18 months, so she already had her hands full!
Duke was having a great time playing with his new siblings – jumping up at them, barking and nipping. But Nancy, Stanley and Albert were not having quite as much fun!
He is a lovely friendly and sociable puppy and as a working breed he was a quick learner so he loved getting stuck into some training!
We worked on sits, downs, settles and stays with Duke so that he could learn self control in a busy family house hold.
In particular we focussed on challenging times, such as mealtimes, play times, bed times and the morning routine. Duke quickly learned that it was more rewarding to stay settled and calm suring these times.
Nancy and Stanley worked really hard on the online course and enjoyed working through the videos and games. They showed a brilliant understanding of dog body language which is one of the most important things that children need to learn to stay safe around dogs.
Out on walks Duke could be quite strong on the lead so we worked on polite lead walking and coming back when called. Duke had excellent recall but found it difficult to come away from puddles!
By then end of the course we had elimated all jumping up and mouthing, though he did still occasionally try to steal Alberts dummy!
Well done Duke!
HOW THE PROGRAMME WORKS
The reason this programme works so will is because it involves the whole family and empowers parents and children with techniques to remove the most difficult puppy behaviours. It is also a lot of fun, and kids don’t realise that they are learning so much along the way!