Involving kids in dog training?

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Postby Hoyden » March 10th, 2006, 2:46 am

I'm kinda unorthdox in the way I do just about everything, so I wanted some input on some of the things we've been doing to train Birdie. I involve my kids and the neighborhood kids in training "games" too.

Keep in mind that Birdie is training to be my service dog, so I want her to be indifferent to kids and their noises and movements.

"Hulla-boo" game: The object is for the dog to remain calm while the kids act like hooligans. The kids put on this game that has them jumping around and the dog has to down/stay at the enterance of the room and not get excited or participate even though she really wants to. We started with a few seconds and have worked up to almost 10 minutes.

Hide-n-seek: Birdie needs to be able to find a person on command in case I fall or I need help. I'll be in one room and tell her to find Daddy, she goes and finds him and nudges him with her nose. She will also find our girls, Petey and few friends too. We're about ready to work on a long lead since her recall is good.

Red Light/Green Light: Now this one gets interesting. It's whistle training from the Field dog class. Three short toots is come, one is stop & sit. I line up the kids and the dogs along the far side of the fence and give three toots to start and then one toot to stop them - "you're out" means you sit on the frog and don't get a treat. I started this training with just the dogs and the kids wanted to join in - which just increased the difficulty level for the dogs because they have to pay attention to me, not the kids.

Rally-O: Nothing more than heeling around an obsticle course - usually the million toys or lawn furniture in my yard. The Gremlin started off by following us around dragging a stuffed dog on a leash.

Tracking: I didn't create this one - the Gremlin did after watching something on bloodhounds on TV. She shows the dog a coveted dog toy or a dog biscuit then throws a blanket over their head, says wait and scampers off to hide the object (It took a little Daddy help to teach the dogs to wait) Then she comes back, gives the release command and the dogs go hunt for the item.

Distract the dog: The kids are instructed to ride on the bike path, roller blade or just make noise, leave toys everywere, drop food on the ground etc. I walk the dog through with the end goal being that Birdie makes way when needed, ignores the balls & toys, ignores the doritos or devil dogs, doesn't react to the kids playing lazer tag and doesn't chase the bike rider or skaters. Which she does pretty good at - except for the doritos. (The kids are all told that they are to never ever do these things to another dog - this is for training for Birdie only. I have parental consent and the parent's are there.)

No wonder the dogs are tired and the neighbors want to send their kids over to play.

So you thing this kind of thing is effective training when used in addition to the more structured training classes?
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Postby rockermom » March 10th, 2006, 8:28 am

Sounds cool to me but I would not use my neighborhood kids cause I dont trust anyone we had some wacky stuff happen around here. Rocky could never get past the food on the ground. But I take him out while kids are riding the quads since we want to do some camping and quad riding. He is ok with it untill the kids go off on a trail and he can no longer see them. He gets quite upset.
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Postby Maryellen » March 10th, 2006, 9:06 am

YES YES YES... what you are doing is FANTASTIC.. you are training birdie and the neighborhood kids as well, a service dog has to ignore everything,, and who can ignore screaming playing kids??? and to the Gremlin, she is also FANTASTIC for teaching tracking and for using that super smart mind of hers!!
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Postby SisMorphine » March 10th, 2006, 9:48 am

Always use kids in training!!! I think that's great. Birdie is getting fantastic socialization :)
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Postby Jenn » March 10th, 2006, 9:57 am

Even though it's "training" your house always sounds like so much fun, lol. Mind if I send mine over for some "training"? Not the dogs, the kid! :wink:
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Postby Hoyden » March 10th, 2006, 1:14 pm

houlabulla? wrote:Sounds cool to me but I would not use my neighborhood kids cause I dont trust anyone we had some wacky stuff happen around here. Rocky could never get past the food on the ground. But I take him out while kids are riding the quads since we want to do some camping and quad riding. He is ok with it untill the kids go off on a trail and he can no longer see them. He gets quite upset.


I had a hard time with Birdie lunging for food on the ground for awhile - then I decided to outsmart the dog.

I showed her the beef jerky - then put it in my pocket.

I gave the kids snacks because they always make and unholy mess and walked Birdie through.

I told her to LEAVE IT and showed her the beef jerky to distract her. I put the beef jerky in my hand with my hand straight down at my side and kept walking so that she had to put her nose to my hand. I gave her the jerky when we were beyond the food on the ground. (Must be a high value treat to work) and repeated again and again.

She's much better with leave it now, but still needs more work to be 100%

I don't let her have food or treats off the ground or floor. She's getting to the point where she will sit and look at me before she dives for something dropped on the floor in the kitchen. I pick it up & throw it away, then give her a small treat and lots of praise.
Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men ~ General George S. Patton, Jr.

She taking all the stars down from her sky to hang them up someplace new, where there's better weather and the sky's a different blue. ~ Autumn Fields
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Postby rockermom » March 10th, 2006, 5:54 pm

Hoyden wrote:
houlabulla? wrote:Sounds cool to me but I would not use my neighborhood kids cause I dont trust anyone we had some wacky stuff happen around here. Rocky could never get past the food on the ground. But I take him out while kids are riding the quads since we want to do some camping and quad riding. He is ok with it untill the kids go off on a trail and he can no longer see them. He gets quite upset.


I had a hard time with Birdie lunging for food on the ground for awhile - then I decided to outsmart the dog.

I showed her the beef jerky - then put it in my pocket.

I gave the kids snacks because they always make and unholy mess and walked Birdie through.


I told her to LEAVE IT and showed her the beef jerky to distract her. I put the beef jerky in my hand with my hand straight down at my side and kept walking so that she had to put her nose to my hand. I gave her the jerky when we were beyond the food on the ground. (Must be a high value treat to work) and repeated again and again.

She's much better with leave it now, but still needs more work to be 100%

I don't let her have food or treats off the ground or floor. She's getting to the point where she will sit and look at me before she dives for something dropped on the floor in the kitchen. I pick it up & throw it away, then give her a small treat and lots of praise.


Thanks for that information I will have to try this. Are you using regular beef jerkey or those little dog treat sqares? Last week at training I was having a big problem when walking the room keeping Rocky from looking for and lunging for every piece of treat he could find. And my husband has always said if it hits the floor its the dogs. I think I will try to stop that too. Since when we take walks he always finds something especially gum. Its gross.
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Postby Hoyden » March 10th, 2006, 6:11 pm

houlabulla? wrote:
Thanks for that information I will have to try this. Are you using regular beef jerkey or those little dog treat sqares? Last week at training I was having a big problem when walking the room keeping Rocky from looking for and lunging for every piece of treat he could find. And my husband has always said if it hits the floor its the dogs. I think I will try to stop that too. Since when we take walks he always finds something especially gum. Its gross.


I've used regular beef jerky and the dog beef jerky bits. They are not cubes, they are like strips - I get them at the feed store.

You should use what ever is a really high value treat for him. I know people who use marshmellows, frootloops, venison jerky, string cheese or cat food!
Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men ~ General George S. Patton, Jr.

She taking all the stars down from her sky to hang them up someplace new, where there's better weather and the sky's a different blue. ~ Autumn Fields
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Postby rockermom » March 10th, 2006, 8:45 pm

I think his favorite is meatballs. He is food crazy he loves all. But meatballs have such a strong smell. I buy the frozen bagged ones and thaw a few before training and cut it up into bits. But I was not holding it in my hand and luring him. I will try that next class. I might try beef jerky since in has strong smell too. But I got to hide it from the husband.
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Postby cheekymunkee » March 11th, 2006, 3:23 am

Your house DOES sound like fun!
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Postby Hoyden » March 11th, 2006, 9:18 am

cheekymunkee wrote:Your house DOES sound like fun!


It is - until you have to navigate around the agility course the Gremlin set up for herself and the dogs with out tripping and killing yourself :)
Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men ~ General George S. Patton, Jr.

She taking all the stars down from her sky to hang them up someplace new, where there's better weather and the sky's a different blue. ~ Autumn Fields
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Postby Purple » March 11th, 2006, 9:50 am

I've said it before....I love the Gremlin.... :D
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