Kids and dogs are natural best friends – for the most part.
By setting boundaries early on, you can teach your kids to respect your dog, avoid earth-shattering bite injuries, and give your dog the best chance of fitting into your household.
Using these tips to introduce your kids to the new dog will set them up for a lifelong bond.
Bringing Your New Dog Home
The voyage home is a special, albeit stressful time for your new dog. They may vomit or have an accident during the car ride, especially if they are a puppy. This is why it’s best to transport them in a crate or car carrier lined with puppy pads or an old towel. If no crate is available, the dog should sit on an adult’s lap in the back seat.
If your child comes along on the journey, ask them to speak softly to the dog. They can tell the dog all about the nice toys and comfy bed that are waiting for them at home, and how excited they are to welcome them to the family.
Kids can get discouraged when they’re always told “don’t do this” and “don’t do that”. Giving them safe, helpful tasks will make them feel good about being around the puppy.
Introduce Your Kids To The New Dog
Avoid surprising your kids with the dog, if possible. While it’s a cute idea, kids have a tendency to cry and squeal when surprised with a new dog, which can overwhelm your new family member. Instead, let your kids help you prepare for the dog and make decisions like which bed and collar to purchase, and what the dog’s name will be.
When you first bring the dog home, your family members may want to crowd around to say hello. The dog will be overwhelmed with their new surroundings, and may not be ready to be picked up, played with, and fussed over.
Give the puppy plenty of freedom to sniff, explore, and get their bearings. They’ll likely express interest in their human siblings with time and patience. Your kids can use toys or food to encourage the puppy to engage, but your puppy may not yet be interested in playing.
Playtime For Kids And Dogs
Puppies have sharp milk teeth that can hurt, and even break skin when they nip. Let your kids know that puppies do not mean to bite when they play, and that they can get over-excited sometimes.
Teach your kids to play safely with the puppy. Encourage them to use toys when playing so the puppy does not bite their fingers. Also, tell your kids that they should not shout or try to punish the puppy for accidentally biting. Instead, they should say, “ouch!” and walk away so the puppy can calm down.
Bite Prevention For Kids
Kids are vulnerable to getting bitten by dogs because they do not yet understand a dog’s body language. They tend to want to hug and kiss the puppy as they would their human family members. About 35% of known dog bites in children occur on the face and neck for this reason.
Show your kids how to appropriately show affection to their new family member. They can kiss their hand and pet the puppy, or they can gently pet the dog on their neck and chest.
Get your kids involved in your puppy’s training. You can learn the basics of positive reinforcement training together. It’s a wonderful way to teach your kids the values of patience, empathy, and understanding. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your puppy (and your kids!) learn with the help of positive reinforcement.
Just Like Kids, Puppies Need Teachers
Working with a positive trainer is the best way to set your new dog up for success.
Healthy Houndz specializes in helping you raise the well-mannered family dog of your dreams.
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Schedule your FREE 30-minute remote training dog consultation call today. We can’t wait to help you and your family raise the best dog ever.