Introducing A New Dog To Your Child
How should I introduce our new dog to our child?
Getting a new family member such as a dog is an exciting time for a family. It is especially exciting for a child; this will be longtime playmate for them! Although it’s a very exciting time, there are steps that should be taken in order to make the introduction a positive, safe experience. There are some things to be sure your child does when meeting your new dog. Whether he/she is a puppy or not, there is a checklist you should keep in mind.
When getting a new puppy, especially from a breeder, there are several opportunities to meet your new little one before taking them home. While waiting on your new friend to be old enough to leave mom, this is a time to prepare your child for your new dog. Explain that it’s like having a new baby to your child. Remind them to move slow, be quiet, and introduce themselves on the puppy’s level.
It is very important that the child be careful with how rough they play with the little one. But that doesn’t mean they can’t play. Small play, involving soft toys and lots of love is very important. It will allow the bond to get strong quickly, while gaining trust in one another. Involve your child in feedings, walks, and training sessions. This allows the puppy to learn to respect your child, knowing that in your family pack, your child (along with you) is above your dog. This will be very important while your dog learns to listen and respect when requested.
As your puppy grows, the bond he/she has with the whole family will grow positively. Make sure you and your child are always using positive reinforcement when speaking to and teaching the dog. This, along with all of the other first steps of becoming a family, are very important for your dog’s lifetime of positive, fun memories.
Over 1 year old adoption
Adopting an older dog is just as exciting as getting a new puppy. Although, there are some additional steps to take when introducing your child. Be sure when researching your “pick” for your family, that the dog has positive history with children. This is a very important safety aspect. If it is unknown, dig deeper with your adoption agency to see what this dog’s history is.
Once you’re past a comfortable history, have your family spend time with the dog through several sit-downs. Let he/she come to you and your child, allowing them to smell you, while trying to gain a sense of security. Be sure your child always stands straight up, not looking the dog in the eyes while the introduction takes place. This is important body language. You want your new family member to gain respect for your child.
If a decision is made to adopt the dog you are interested in, be sure to leave an item of clothing that relates to the smell of your house with him/her to add some comfort to the transition. Before the adoption takes place, your new dog may spend some time at the agency while paperwork gets straightened out. In the meantime, prepare your house accordingly, allowing them to be comfortable and secure. Due to most likely being in a kennel setting for some time, it may be a good decision to offer a crate for comfort. Leave the crate open so your new companion can come and go as they please.
As mentioned when having a new puppy, involve your child in daily chores such as feedings, walks, and training. You want your new dog to listen to your child, as much as you. Respect is the first step to a calm setting in your home. As long as that is achieved with all members of the family, your dog should have a great transition and become a positive asset to your family!
Most of what was mentioned in this article can apply to adults as well. It is always better to be safe and take all the right steps in making sure that everyone is happy and content. It is always a good idea to contact a trainer if there is any bit of discomfort. Always take care of an “issue” as soon as it happens, don’t let it continue, this will make the positive change harder. It is work to introduce a new family member, human or canine, but in the end, it is definitely worth it!