Are you welcoming a new dog into your family soon? Adding a new four-legged friend is a very exciting time. However, if you also have young children, introducing a new dog can be a large feat.
If your kids have never had a pet before or are inexperienced around canines, it could result in serious dog bite injuries. Getting your new pup and your children to get along takes time, patience, and hard work. But once they start bonding and becoming best friends, it is well worth it.
Here are 3 tips for getting your child and dog to bond.
1: Facilitate the Perfect Introduction
You know how people say that first impressions are everything? This is true for pets and people too! You don’t want your child’s first encounter with a new pet to be scary or traumatic. This applies the other way around as well.
So before you bring your dog into the house, prepare them to meet your child by allowing them to smell an article of their clothing This will help the dog familiarize your kid’s scent, preventing them from getting overly excited and jumping on your child or nervously barking at them for not recognizing who they are.
After doing that, walk into the house slowly and tell your child to stay in a different room while the dog learns its surroundings and gets settled. When you think the new pup is calm and ready, put them on a leash and hold them securely and close to your body as your kids enter the room.
Allow the dog to smell your kids and associate their smells with the article of clothing you had them smell prior. Instruct your children on where they can pet the dog and invite them to do it slowly. If your dog shows any negative behavior, tug the leash and tell them, “no” or “stop”.
If you believe that your dog needs more time adjusting to your children, continue to keep them on a leash when your kids are around. You can release them when you see that they are behaving in the appropriate manner around your home.
2: Tell Your Kids When & Where to Pet Your Dog
Many young children believe that the way to get a pet’s attention is to grab it. However, grabbing a dog too quickly can startle it and could cause it to injure your child.
To prevent dog bite injuries, tell your kids that dogs like to be pet on the side of their face, under their chin, and on their backs. Prohibit them from tugging on the dog’s tail and ears.
Remind your sons and daughters that they should never sneak up on the canine and that they should never touch them when they are sleeping.
Educate your child about your dog’s stress signals and body language. If your dog has a tucked tail, flattened ears, and lowered eyes, they are most likely feeling overwhelmed.
Observe your dog for the first few weeks and learn their body language. It is very rare for a dog to attack or bite without showing warning signs. Learn them to prevent future injuries.
3: Include Your Child in Your Dog’s Daily Life
Kids love to help with pets and unsurprisingly, pets love being taken care of. Allow your child to help with the dog’s daily needs and activities so that they can become better acquainted and build a level a trust with each other.
This could include things like feeding the dog, giving the dog a treat, walking the dog with you, and more. If you have an older child, you can even teach them how to wash the dog or allow them to walk them on their own.
Adjusting to a new dog will take some time. However, slow and steady wins the race! Give your dog an adequate amount of time to learn their new home and new family. Follow the tips above and watch for a smooth transition. Remember to capture a few photos of your kids cuddling with your dog when they get comfortable!