Teaching Children About Interacting With Puppies

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Children and puppies can be natural allies, but first the proper introductions must be made. Dogs are man’s best friend, right? And hey, we know that every friendship has to start with a solid foundation.

So if you’re thinking, “I want my kid to become best buddies with my new puppy!” here’s what you need to know:

Create a friendly introduction

Children and puppies should like each other right from the start. So, how can you make sure that they stay friends? Follow these steps:

  1. Let children calm down from their initial excitement at seeing the puppy before they actual get to pet or hold them.
  2. Never let children be the first to make a move when in the room with a puppy.
  3. When first meeting a puppy, children should not touch, talk to, or make eye contact with the young canine until the puppy has calmed down themselves.
  4. Demonstrate first to children how to properly pet puppies and otherwise interact with them.
  5. Keep the puppy’s owner (regardless of who it is) close by and where the puppy can see them.

Keep playtime gentle

Both puppies and children are prone to rough play, and this is simply a natural part of growing up. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should play rough with each other.

 

Make sure children understand that they need to be gentle with their new animal friends. This means no pulling on puppy ears or puppy tails and no squeezing the puppy too hard. If the dog has flea preventative treatment, then be sure the child doesn’t get any on their hands.

Always keep safety in mind

In addition, be sure that safety is at the forefront. Make sure that playtime is taking place in a safe and secure area that you can easily supervise.

 

Keep any potentially harmful items (like cleaning products and furniture that can be knocked over) out of the way and out of reach of children both human and furry. If at any time the situation appears to be becoming unsafe for either the child or the puppy (or both), separate them immediately.

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Prevent health risks

Because children and puppies are much more susceptible to germs and illnesses than the adults of their species are, it’s important to take some precautions before letting them interact with each other. Here are some steps you can take:

 

  1. Have children wash their hands with warm water and soap before interacting with puppies. Repeat when playtime is over.
  2. Check that puppies are healthy and up-to-date on their vet appointments. That means keeping them up to date on all their medications.
  3. Keep children away from puppy urine and fecal matter, and make sure that these areas are cleaned up regularly and with good sanitation.
  4. Make sure that children understand the dangers of sharing their snacks with the puppy! Some people foods aren’t good for puppies and can make them sick.

Foster a good relationship for the future

How your child interacts now with a puppy will make a big impact on how they relate to dogs in general and even other animals in the future. But don’t worry if things don’t go exactly how you want them to the first time — just like people, sometimes multiple impressions need to be made.

 

If the child’s actions need improvement, correct them immediately. Likewise, don’t be afraid to discipline the puppy when necessary. After all, the best human-dog relationships are based on understanding and responsibility.

 

By following a few simple guidelines from the beginning, your puppy and your child can have a long, loving relationship.

 

Bio: Nina blogs about all things dogs at dogsbynina.com.

The Great Pet Debate

Even if I tried, I couldn’t count with the fingers on my hand the number of times my daughter has egged me to get her a pet. She has done every pleading strategy to get me to say yes to her request, but I simply won’t budge. But it’s hard to say no to the one you love so dearly. So goes the great pet debate between mother and child.

She badly wants a puppy, and doesn’t mind cleaning pet stains on carpet floors, she claims. I contest that the condo admin prohibits pets in the compound. She then asks, but why does she hear barking from the next door neighbor. Before I concede, I negotiate with her and try to ask if we could probably get a pet other than a dog- a goldfish, perhaps? She says she’ll think it over.

As I toy with the idea in my head, I realize that it probably is not so bad for my kid to have a pet. Caring for another living thing teaches one responsibility, and if anything, that certainly builds character. Cleaning up after a puppy or feeding it gives one a sense of selflessness. And of course, this will lead to a loving relationship between my kid and her pet. Since she doesn’t have brothers or sisters, having a pet to play with will make up for it- that’ll spare me the issue of sibling rivalry, for one!

The debate doesn’t end here. I’ll present her with other options: a hamster, maybe. Just no reptiles, please!