How To Introduce a New Puppy to Your Children
by Julie Schrager
So, you have a new furry family member that you brought home? What an exciting time for you and your children. As much as this is a fun and new addition to your lives, it’s important to know ways to manage your puppy so bad behaviors do not start. This begins with the introduction to your children.
How To Prevent Bad Habits from Forming
Believe it or not, it’s quite simple to prevent bad habits from forming with a new puppy. You just don’t reward it for bad behavior. Yes, I know it certainly sounds very simple and it can be if you recognize the signs. In order to prevent the start of a bad habit, it’s important to discuss with your children their responsibilities with their new puppy.
Step 1: The introduction. This part of owning a new puppy is quite important because it does not know anyone and can be very scared and timid. Calmly and quietly introduce your puppy to your children. Let your puppy sniff your children’s clothing, face, and breath. Tell your children to gently pet the puppy, abstaining from any forceful movements. If your children are tiny, avoid allowing them to give your puppy snacks as it might think your children’s little fingers are a treat.
Step 2: Get a playpen. Get a crate. Why a playpen? This helps to keep your puppy from potentially harming itself and destroying your home, as well as allowing it to learn how to comfort itself in its own space. Having a crate is another way of helping your puppy acclimate itself to your home and schedule. While you have to step out, putting your puppy in the crate will teach it to understand its safe place. Leaving your dog in a crate when you leave your home prevents them from getting into mischief.
Step 3: Make sure you tell your children the rules. These rules should be made up prior to getting your puppy. For example, it’s important to explain to your children that roughhousing with their new puppy can harm them. Also, keeping tug-of-war type toys away from both your puppy and children is essential as these toys can misalign your dog’s jaw. Remember, your puppy is growing and small things like tug-of-war can harm it. Allow your children to spend quality time with the puppy so they can bond together while remembering it’s important that you are present at all times as young kids don’t realize how strong they can be and can hurt their new puppy.
Step 4: Another great way to help your children bond with their new puppy is to let them have certain responsibilities, like feeding and walking. This can help your puppy bond with your children and learn to respond to them as well.
Step 5: Let your children know just how delicate puppies can be. Children need to know that jumping on and off of beds and couches can hurt the puppy and possibly break one of their legs. Giving your children the opportunity to understand this can help prevent accidents.
How Important is Choosing the Right Breed for Your Family?
It’s very important to know what the different dog breeds are. Researching this is the first step in determining what breed is a good fit for your family and sets the stage for the bond your puppy will make. If you decide to go through a private breeder, you must make sure they are reputable. Being able to see the mother and/or the father on-site is a plus when you visit the breeder. This can help you to determine whether that specific breed is a perfect match for you and your family.
Having a new puppy is a wonderful experience. Knowing ahead of time how to transition your children into adapting to their new puppy is essential. Enjoy your new furry addition!
Julie Schrager and her husband Jeff have lived in Wellington for 20 years with their son Jake along with their two mini schnauzers, Baron and Leo. Julie is the owner of Tail Waggers Dog Walking & Training and the host of her podcast Nothing But Julie.