As you all know, when I was younger, we had two dogs. To say I loved them was an understatement. They were a big part of my life.
Puppies and kids just go together like bread and cheese. However, you do need to be careful. It is important you to introduce a dog into your home in the right way.
Taking the time to plan the arrival of your pup and settle him or her down pays dividends. If you get it right, you are setting your kids and the puppy up to enjoy a long and rewarding relationship together. Just look at my dog and youngest they adore each other.
Tell your child about the puppy in advance
It is never wise to just arrive home with a new puppy. You need to get things ready for your new arrival. We actually picked out Summer together.
Talking to your kids about getting the dog and explaining what is expected of them in advance is essential. Children need to understand that a puppy is not a plaything. Teach them to respect the puppy. For example, explain to them that they need to let the dog come to them instead of constantly bugging him or her. Use this resource to teach your child about dog body language.
Be there to supervise
During the first few days and weeks, you need to be there to supervise your children and your puppy. You need to set the boundaries for both parties, and make sure that they stick to the rules. A puppy will soon work out who is the soft touch in the family and start to do things they should not when you are not around.
Get your child involved in training the puppy
You want all members of the family to treat the pup the same, and to reinforce your training. Kids learn fast, and they love being given the responsibility of looking after a pet.
Getting them involved in this way is a great way to develop your child’s social and emotional intelligence. You can read more about this here.
Bringing your puppy home
For your puppy, leaving its mum and siblings behind at the Douglas Hall Kennels Scotland or elsewhere, is a huge step. You want to make this transition easy and smooth as possible.
If the breeder allows it, leave a t-shirt of yours with them when you choose your puppy. They will then put it in the kennel with your puppy’s family to pick up the family’s scent. When you pick up your dog, you take the t-shirt with you to use in the car and your puppy’s bed. That way for the first few days, your pup will have the scent of his first family around him or her, which can help them to settle.
Take someone with you to sit in the back with the pup, but leave your younger children at home. When you arrive, calmly take him or her into the garden to go to the toilet, and give them a small treat when they go.
Once the puppy is in a calm state again, bring the kids out and allow the pup to approach each one of them. Doing this will ensure that your new puppy is not overwhelmed.
Taking these few simple steps will make all the difference, and allow everyone to settle down quickly.