Growing up with a dog is one of the best childhood memories a person can have.
Your dog and kids can have a beautiful and every-lasting relationship which is definitely Instagram-worthy and life goals. However, if your Golden Retriever has only been socialized with adult humans, kids can be a challenge for him.
This is because, when compared to adults, children are energetic, friendly, full of life, and a bit more eccentric which is something your dog may not necessarily know.
Children can sometimes scare dogs away.
Your dog may even respond negatively to a child and can even snap at a kid, or bite.
So, you need to train your Golden Retriever to be kid-friendly if you’re planning on having a family. It’s true that Goldies are one of the most popular family dogs but, they need to be taught how to behave around tiny humans.
In this blog post, I’ll share with you some tips on how to train your Golden Retriever to be kid-friendly.
So, let’s begin!
If if you are years away from planning on having children, you still might have kids in your life. They can be your nephews, nieces, friend’s kids, etc. and they’re always welcome to pay you a visit, right?
This is why you should train your Goldy to be kid-friendly.
You should introduce a puppy to kids when he is about 8 to 16 weeks in age during which pups go through a period of development which is critical to determine how they’ll live for the rest of their lives.
So, what they learn during this time sticks forever.
Socialization is the most effective when done at this age and this makes your puppy accept a variety of people including kids positively.
The cuter your dog, the more likely he is to get attention from kids.
This is why Golden Retrievers need to be taught how to behave around kids because they are just too adorable!
There are two things you need to keep in mind while training your dog:
- Making sure that your dog ‘likes’ kids and enjoys their company
- Teaching your dog the appropriate way to behave with kids
We recommend you train your dog to be kid-friendly even if you don’t have kids because your Goldy will eventually encounter kids one way or the other.
And, when that happens, you want things to go smoothly.
You cannot prepare the world for your dog but, you can prepare your dog for the world.
As a dog owner, you are morally and legally responsible for his behavior. This simply means that you must prepare your Golden Retriever for anything that the world could throw at him.
So, it is a good idea to prepare your dog by giving him varied experiences.
This is one of the reasons why we recommend that you carry treats with you all the time when out with your dog.
For example, if your take your Goldy to a dog park where you happen to encounter kids that want to play with him, you can give your dog a treat and ‘distract’ him while the child pets him—building a positive association while having control over the situation.
This will make your dog welcome the a kid’s attention!
If your dog behaves well with people, you have already reached the first step.
Your dog needs to some basic commands such as “sit”, “down”, “lay”, etc. to be able to trained further.
Most dogs like to jump up at visitors in excitement—which is an inappropriate behavior, especially if the visitor is a child who may be afraid of dogs, or could be knocked over by the dog’s weight and get hurt.
So, teaching your dog basic commands helps channelize his energy onto something appropriate.
Positive reinforcement is an effective technique that you can use to help build a good relationship between your dog and children.
Make it a point to always praise and reward your dog when he behaves appropriately around children. It won’t take your dog a long time to figure out how he should behave around kids.
One of the best tools to help encourage the communication between children and dog are training games because they help both parties learn appropriate behaviors. You need to ensure that an adult should always be supervising these training games because excitement and over-arousal can hurt the dog or the children.
- Inside the rope
This is an exciting game which also helps your dog learn to stay within a boundary while bonding with children.
Following are the steps you should follow:
- Take a rope and make a circle from it on the floor
- Let the child throw a treat inside the circle
- As the dog goes inside the circle to eat the treat, praise the dog when he has all four paws inside the circle
- Keep repeating it until the dog gets the hang of it
- Children can be allowed to run around or play in the room while playing this game
If you play this game in different locations both indoors and outdoors, you may not even need a leash to tie your dog up!
This is an interesting game that can help teach your dog how to share and teach kids to respect the dog and his space. You can help both the parties learn this by playing a game which has two identical items.
There are a lot of these games, and I won’t go into them all in detail.
However, keep in mind that you should first play these games with the dog until he gets the hang of things after which he can play them with a kid.
This classic game is fun for both children and dogs and stimulated them mentally and physically. Here are the steps to follow:
- One person is in charge of distracting the dog with the other hides
- When the dog finds the hidden child, he is rewarded with a treat
You can make this game challenging by letting the children hide in another room, while you encourage the dog to find the hidden child.
The most important rule of the game fetch is that your dog must give back the toy he just fetched. You should first teach your dog how to play this game and then, allow the kids to play with him once he understands it.
Keep in mind to always reward your dog with treats, attention, and praise when he lets go of the object.
You must teach the children to end the game if your dog does not give up the toy he just fetched (or tugs it).
Golden Retrievers are known to be excellent with kids but, for some Goldies, it just doesn’t come naturally. These dogs are good-looking which is one of the reasons why they attract kids and must be trained in how to be kid-friendly.
Children are different than adults as they are more energetic, happy, and make loud noises.
This is one of the reasons why your dog must know to act around kids so that everyone has a good time and that no one ends up getting hurt.
Still, have a question or a doubt? I’ll clear everything up in the comments section!