In 4 weeks we will be picking up our puppy 'Maggie' once she is home our 7 year old will love her to pieces And I want her to be included in training Maggie. How can we include the whole family and not confuse Maggie?
quick answer - establish the training with the adults first, then have the 7 yo step in, with supervision if he needs assistance.
there are quite a few posts about this already in the training section from a few months back if you have the time to search for them. Otherwise I agree with kaytris, establish a training routine with the adults first.
In the past I have suggested that adults train the dog in the important things such as sit, stay, drop, wait, take, leave it. But let the little ones do the fun types of training such as shake hands and roll over. Those cool party tricks keep the training fun for the younger ones, and they can show them off to their friends later too. It also keeps the kids interested in interacting with the dog longer.
Once commands have been established by the adults (such as sit and stay) it is very useful for the children to know how to give these commands but you want them to do it properly so as not to confuse the dog so therefore it's really good to get the kids to give the commands once the dog knows them back the front.
With Maggie I'm sure she'll have sit and stay down pat really fast like most labs anyway so you'll be fine .... do what feels right. You know your child and how mature they are as well as how quickly they learn how to give commands consistently so judge it off that too and you'll be great!
Don't have children so can't advise other than remembering way back when I was little My Mum Trained the Dog and they both trained me, but my first dog was a Shetland Sheepdog so a lot smaller than a Lab
Good luck but consistency is really important when all the family is involed
See 'Our Best Advice' -- the sticky at the top of this page.
Also, train both the dog AND the child. Even at seven, kids could use reminders that this is a living/breathing/feeling/thinking companion that you've decided to share your home with. But at the end of the day, given all the training in the universe, it's still an animal and that some level of caution is always a good idea.
Review good-kid behavior, especially related to instinctual reactions in animals to loud noises, fear, running/chasing, prey-drives, etc. etc.
No kids for me either but I can remember back to the dogs we had as a kid. It was definitely a matter or training both the dog and me.
They trained the dog with the basic commands until he got it down. Then they showed me how to do it. The dog already knew the commands at that point and just had to listen to me.
They taught me responsibility that a dog is a living creature that needs love and care. That it was important to remember to feed him, etc.
My Angus is 2. My children are now 9 & 6. When we brought him home we established rules for everyone. As far as training goes, we brought the kids along to puppy kindergarden classes with us. My husband and/or I did level 1 obed alone though.
"Find out who you are and do it on purpose."