If you have children at home then there’ll no doubt be loads of excitement about the new pup’s arrival. Moving to a new home, with a new family, away from his or her litter mates will be very overwhelming for your pup, so it’s important that any introduction to children and other pets is done calmly.
Explain to the children in advance that they will need to sit quietly when the pup arrives and give the pup time to adjust to the new surroundings.
If there are no children in your home, it’s important that you include meeting children in your socialisation program. You want your new pup to grow up confident around all humans, large and small.
Seven Top Tips for keeping pups and children safe
- Socialisation: Make sure your pup meets and has lots of positive experiences around children especially during the early important developmental period between 8 and 16 weeks.
- Handling: Routinely handle your dog all over including ears, tails, belly and paws. Sometimes children just can’t help themselves and will launch themselves at your dog for a full-on hug. It’s important that your dog is used to human touch.
- Teach your dog not to jump up: Even a relatively small dog can knock a young over if he jumps up at them. Reward your dog for keeping all for 4 on the ground during greetings.
- Training: Having a well-behaved dog is important for both his and your children’s safety. Be sure to train at least the basics like sit, wait, stay, lie down, and leave it.
- Children’s Toys: Children’s toys can be very tempting for your pup to chew on. This is when you get to practice your ‘leave it’ training. Direct them away from the children’s toys and to their own. Apart from the fact that a pup’s sharp teeth could destroy the toys, there is also a chance that little fingers could get nipped if a child tries to get it back themselves.
- Don’t force your pup to accept children: Most pups if socialised properly at a young age will grow up accepting children. If your dog shows any signs of being nervous around children don’t hold your dog and allow children to approach and touch him. If he is already afraid, being trapped like this could make him even more fearful and cause him to snap or bite. Allow your dog time to get used to children and provide a safe place he can escape to.
- Children need rules: Be sure that any children visiting or living in your home know the following rules:
- No rough play with the pup just gentle stroking
- Never go near the pup when he is eating or sleeping
- Never put fingers in the pup’s mouth to remove a toy
Young children should always have adult supervision when the pup is in the room.
Never force a pup to play if he doesn’t want to.