With more people working out of their homes than ever, there are also more families deciding to bring a new dog into their lives. Though this can be a great experience, homes that have children need to understand how to approach bringing a new dog into their world.
Making the Initial Introduction
Instead of just opening up the car door and letting your new dog run freely into your home around your kids, there should be a method of introducing your dog to them. Instead, it is important to be patient and slow with the introduction process.
If you have several children, consider introducing your dog to them, one at a time. This will allow the dog to smell and gain trust in each child as an individual, instead of becoming overwhelmed with too many sights, sounds, and smells all at once.
When introducing your dog to your children, experts recommend keeping the dog on a leash in case something goes wrong and you need to take charge of the situation.
Teaching Young Children
Instead of teaching a young child to approach the dog, teach them how to have the dog come to them. The dog should have plenty of space to approach the child at their own will.
After the dog comes to the child, be certain to allow the dog to smell the child before any petting occurs. Ideally, the child should reach out with their fingers curled, never forcing their hand in front of the dog’s face.
Next, the child should know how to pet the dog in a gentle and calm manner, since petting the dog too roughly might upset him or her. The last thing to remember is that your children need to not come across as aggressive during the process, even though getting the dog is an exciting event in their lives.
Even if the initial introduction goes well, keep an eye out during future interactions. Your children should understand that their new friend needs plenty of space and should allow the dog to come to them when it wants to.
In addition to this, avoid loud noises and sudden movements around your new dog, so that they will continue to feel safe and calm. Another important thing to tell your children is that you should never interrupt a dog when they are sleeping or eating, as some dogs may see this as a threat and become aggressive during these situations.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to never leave a new pet and your children alone without supervision. This is for the safety of your children as well as your new dog.
Keep in mind that your goal is to build a trusting relationship between your family and your new pup. Be mindful of the dog’s body expressions, such as his tail and ears. Teach your children that when they see the dog’s ears pulled back, tail sticking out and fur standing up that they need to stay away for the time being.
Try using positive reinforcement as a means to help build a good relationship between your children and your new dog. When your dog is behaving in a good way around your children, try giving him or her an abundance of praise, attention, and treats. Your dog will begin to make a positive association with being around children, and before you know it, will be seeking them out in hopes for more good things to happen.