There’s something wonderful about allowing your child to get a new puppy, but there’s more to inviting a dog into your life than acquiring the title of cool mom or dad. Puppies, like kids, are inquisitive, easily excited, and prone to unexpected behavior. That’s why it’s important to introduce one to the other with a generous dose of care. These four tips will help ensure your child and your new dog get along just fine.
Choose the right pooch
You may think that a toy breed is perfect for young kids, but that’s something of a misnomer. The sight of one of those little Yorkies (usually looking ultra-cute in a teacup) may give you a warm fuzzy feeling, but they’re far too fragile to team with boisterous kids. You probably don’t want to bring home a Great Dane either (just think of the poop duty). Aim for somewhere in the middle and look for a pooch around the size of a retriever.
Let the puppy take the lead
Puppies are just getting to know the world and need to be allowed to do it at their own pace. At this early stage, it’s important to let the puppy approach your child and not usually the other way round. Sure, this is tricky with younger children but your efforts to encourage patient interactions between child and pooch will pay off later. Never leave them to it until you are sure it is safe to do so.
Introduce quiet zones
Everyone likes a bit of me time occasionally. You remember me time, right? Otherwise known as the “days before children.” You’ll already know that whether they care to admit it or not, your child actually sometimes likes a bit of peace and quiet. Puppies are no different so you should make sure they have a space of their own where they can go for a self-enforced time out.
Involve kids in training and feeding
Taking your new puppy to training classes is a must and getting kids involved is not only great fun but will also lead both child and dog to have a deeper respect for each other down the line. At home, children should be involved in feeding and cleaning activities as much as they are able. It’s a great way for little ones to learn about responsibility. Plus, you might just get to enjoy a spot of me time after all.
Do you have your own tips on how to introduce children to a new dog? Share the (puppy) love in the comments below. We’d love to hear about what worked for your family.