Having a dog in the family can create wonderful memories for your children. It can teach them about responsibility and will give them a much-loved play buddy. That being said, it’s always worth remembering that dogs are animals that require a special approach towards their treatment and care. Find a Dog Trainer near me.
To have the best chance at having a harmonious relationship, you need to tread carefully when introducing a new dog of any age to your children. Here are the best tips for introducing a new dog to your children to tell you more.
Understand The Risks
While dogs look cute and fluffy, they can pose a serious risk to your child’s health, especially if they feel annoyed or threatened by their behaviour. While bites are of course the most serious risk to look out for, other issues could include flea bites or diseases that result from contact with the dog’s mouth or faeces. Safety and good hygiene are paramount and your children need to be taught this from the off.
From your dog’s perspective, there are many ways your child could endanger them even from what seems like harmless play. Puppies especially have fragile bones that are prone to breaking. Plus, their small size means they can be easily stepped on. You children also need to be aware of what foods aren’t suitable to feed to a dog, whether because it could cause a dietary issue or pose a possible choking hazard.
If your kids have always wanted a dog, they are naturally going to be very excited when they finally get one. Though just like when you introduce a second dog into the home, caution should still apply with your kids. If you have several children it’s wise to introduce one child at a time to the dog. Make sure there are adults on hand to be able to restrain both the dog and child if necessary.
Dogs are inquisitive and they are going to want to greet their new owners by jumping and sniffing. For younger children, this can be quite intimidating, and for babies, this can be extremely dangerous. So be on hand to remove either party at any second. At the same time, keep the atmosphere relaxed so that neither is afraid of the other. This is also the perfect time to teach your child how to pet the dog gently too.
A problem with puppies, in particular, is that children want to play with them constantly, and who can blame them?! Think of this from your dog’s perspective though, especially when they already feel overwhelmed with their new surroundings. That’s why your dog must have a kid-free spot whether that be a crate or a bed that’s in a quiet corner of your home.
It’s also a good idea to teach your children signs that the dog is agitated or just wants to rest. Along with advice about not prodding or constricting them in any way which your dog may react negatively too. If children are keyed into the dog’s body language, the dog is less likely to snap at them. At all times your dog and children should be supervised for their safety.
To Sum Up
When you introduce a new dog into the family, tentative steps need to be taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone. Involving your children in your dog’s training is also imperative, as is setting ground rules so that everyone is aware when your dog needs a little space.
By taking the time to introduce your children to your dog gradually, it will help create a positive experience for all. If in doubt, consult a dog trainer who will be able to point you in the right direction, and get to the underlying cause of any behavioural issues your dog may be exhibiting.