Children love to go for long walks with their four-legged friends. In fact, this is a fun moment and also an effective way to strengthen the bond between them. Elisa Pellizzari, a dog trainer, tells us how to teach children the correct and safe way to walk the dog on a lead.
If your child is the right age to start a few little activities with the dog, these can be very useful in developing a strong bond and a solid relationship between the two.
Initially, a few activities that do not necessarily require physical contact can be carried out, both to teach the child how to control his or her emotions when with the pet and also to avoid situations that would be pointless for the dog and might make him uneasy, like being hugged and so on.
Activities of this type, like little sniffing games or resolving easy problems, can motivate the dog to enjoy the company and interaction with the child, simply because the dog will start having pleasant, fun moments with the child.
Once a good amount of familiarity has been acquired between the two, you can teach the child to walk the dog, always taking the necessary precautions.
Initially, it is best to work with two leads, also based on the size and strength of the dog compared to the child: the adult holds one lead and the child holds the other. It will be a perfect opportunity to teach the child not to pull the dog physically, but to ask the four-legged friend to follow him, as if the dog were free.
Only after acquiring a certain dexterity in handling the lead, the child and dog can start covering very short distances on their own in quiet areas. We must underline the fact that the lead should only be used as a safety tool and not as a way to move the dog like a sack of potatoes.
We always recommend that you carefully assess the area you are in and the difference in strength between the dog and the child: when subjected to certain external stimuli, the dog may pull on the lead on certain occasions, so an adult must always be present and vigilant.