Dogs and Kids
The following games are intended to create a safe situation for kids and dogs to practice training skills, appropriate play skills and bonding.
Game 1: Hide and Seek. Have your child hide (easily in the beginning, maybe just around the corner of the next room) while holding a toy filled with FORSTA treats. When the dog finds them, have them give the dog the toy. Continue this game, adding new training each time. Have the child ask the dog to lie down, spin, back up, etc before giving the dog the treat filled toy.
Game 2: Walking together. Give the child a FORSTA filled treat toy, with a treat available to lick at the opening of the toy. Off leash, teach the child how to keep the dog by their side with the licking of the toy as the reward. Have the child stop and tell the dog to “wait”, walking ahead a few paces and then walking back to reward the dog with more treats and licks from the toy. Teach the child to run while keeping the dog at their side, using the toy as a reward when the child stops running. If the child wants to run and play without the dog, teach the child to tether the dog safely with an adult, leaving them with a FORSTA filled toy to entertain themselves.
Game 3: Simple agility. Create a very simple obstacle course. I like to include a few of the following aspects from the list below. Keep in mind the height of the dog ad the children when setting up the obstacles. Have the kids hold a tube of FORSTA treats to lure the dog through the obstacles, giving the dog a treat for trying. Remind the children it may take a lot of practice and encouragement before the dog can master the course.
A low jump, like a broomstick between a doorway or a stick between books.
Something to walk around such as a tree, a cone or a chair.
Something weird to walk on like an empty baby pool or giant cushion
Beanbags or cones placed on the ground in a line, a few feet apart to weave through.
Something to tunnel through, like a chair with a blanket over it.
Something to walk on, such as a 10-foot board, propped one foot off the ground on both sides.
Game 4: Round Robin If you have multiple kids together, have them stand 20-30 feet apart but facing each other. One at a time, allow each child to call the dog over to them, ask for an easy trick and give the dog a few treats.
Game 5: Simple Whip-its If you have a puppy under 16 weeks, split open a stuffed toy, remove the stuffing and tie the toy to a strong, thin rope. Put a FORSTA filled toy inside of the stuffed toy and let the puppy chase and tug around while the child holds the other end of the rope. Supervise this closely or the children will tangle themselves in the rope.