How to Introduce a Pet Dog to Your Children
Many parents dream of a family that includes both children and pets, but sometimes when you have younger children, the idea of trying to bring the two together can feel a bit daunting.
Dogs make fantastic family pets, and for your children they can really become a friend for life. Owning a dog can be very beneficial to children, as it teaches them skills such as empathy and responsibility, and also improves their social skills.
When the day comes to introduce your new dog to your children, the likelihood is that they will be all be a bit overexcited, but it is important that you get off on the right foot when it comes to both teaching your children how to act around the dog and training the dog how to behave in your home.
Whether you have chosen to buy a puppy or have decided to adopt an older dog, neither will have had any experience with your home or family before, so it is important that you give them space to explore their new surroundings and adjust to their new home for the first few days.
When you bring your dog home, make sure your children don’t all rush up to him, as he could just end up feeling scared. Sit your children down and let your dog approach them one at a time so that he can get a feel for his new family and environment.
Once both the dog and children have sussed each out, you can let them gently interact with each other. Tell the children that they can stroke the dog’s chin and give him a few treats, but don’t let them hug the dog or start picking him up if he is just a puppy, as this could seem threatening to the dog and possibly scare him.
An older dog is likely to be a lot more laid back if it has lived with a large family before and is unlikely to be phased by children, but younger dogs can be unpredictable, so if your children aren’t used to animals then it is important to make sure this interaction is fully supervised.
Having a new pet dog in your family can be incredibly exciting, especially for younger children, but it is important to let your dog have a bit of time to himself sometimes. If you have a puppy, then they will most likely fall asleep quite regularly anyway.
Your home is going to be a completely new experience for a dog, and although they are sure to love playing with your children, it is important that they have a balance of quiet and busy periods.
Respect needs to be a two way street between a dog and a child. The children need to understand that the dog is not a toy and that if they tease him, then he will most likely become overexcited and want to play more. Make sure your children know that they must stay calm around the dog and that they must be gentle with him.
Your dog will be thrilled to have some friends to play with, but it is important to teach him how to act around your children from the word go. Don’t let dogs jump up or nip, as these behaviours are hard to stop if they are allowed to go on for a long time.
When you get a dog, they will be with you for the rest of your life, and you are going to be the only family they have, so look after them and teach them how to behave just as you do with other children. It is important to supervise young children and animals, as even a gentle dog could react if a young child was to start pulling his ears and hurting him without meaning to.
The key to smoothly introducing a dog into your family is through routine and practice. Make sure your dog knows what time he will be let out, when his walk will be and when he will be fed his dinner. Give him obedience training and help him to understand how to behave in different situations. Having a pet dog is time consuming, but when you have a well-trained pooch as part of your happy family, it will all be worth it.