Getting a family pet is exciting for all family members, but it can also be stressful, especially if this is your first pet. You have to ensure that you are ready for new responsibilities, but you also have to prepare your children for the whole process.
If you don't talk to your children before you get a new pet, they won't know how to handle the excitement, and they may harm your pet or help them develop bad habits. Once you decide to adopt or buy a new dog, it's vital not to bring them into your house until all family members are ready for the changes.
Your child should play with your dog, but it has to learn how to behave and treat the new family member with respect. Explain what's the best way to approach the dog, and how to interact with a new puppy in the future. Your child should be gentle, and you should do whatever you can to prevent injuries or bad behavior.
Teach your child that it's not okay to kick the dog or pull the dog’s ears or tail. If they don't learn how to approach the dog, it will be harder for them to form a closer bond with a new family pet. Your puppy should feel safe around all family members, which is why you need to set boundaries and teach your child to control emotions around the new dog. Once you start interacting with your new family member, you will be able to learn something new as well.
Let the new puppy eat in peace
If you don't respect your dog's personal space, they can become defensive. Don't allow your child to interact with the dog while the dog is eating. Your child should learn that it's not okay to approach the dog during mealtime, but they should also know that the dog can't sit on their lap after you set the table.
It's vital not to let the child share their food with the new puppy, and teach them that some ingredients can upset your dog's stomach. Don't forget to give your dog a portion of healthy food after you finish with your meal because that's how you're going to establish dominance.
Talk about new responsibilities
If your children are still young, you can't expect them to walk the dog every day or feed them in the morning before kindergarten or school. They're too young for the new responsibilities, and you should talk about them once they're old enough to handle them. However, if your children are old enough to manage new responsibilities, you should make some rules before you bring a new dog into your home.
Some parents don't think that this step is important, but if you don't talk to your kids, you and your partner will be the only people who take good care of the new family member. Ask your children to walk your dog after school or refill the water bowls a few times a day. Once they become old enough to handle other responsibilities, they will be able to take the dog to the groomer or the dog park where they can interact with other dogs without your supervision.
Hide valuable objects
Puppies are curious creatures, and they will roam around the house and play with whatever they find of the ground. If you don't give them new toys that will occupy them for a while, they will grab the first object in front of them and play with it endlessly. They will chew kids toys beyond recognition, and destroy cables and socks if you leave them on the floor.
You can avoid heartbreaking situations by teaching your children to keep their favourite toys in a container, out of the dog's reach. Provide safe chewing toys for your puppy, and remind your kids to take good care of their toys and other valuable possessions.
Organize a dedicated area of the house for your puppy
Once you bring a new pet into your home, you should provide a safe space for them. That means that there should be a corner in your house where your dog sleeps and where you keep the chewing toys and dog blankets. Teach your kids that this is the area where your dog feels safe and comfortable.
It's recommended not to allow them to enter this area whenever they want and teach them to respect your dog's circle. If you don't want the dog on the couch or you child's bed, you should talk about it before you get the dog, and teach them that it's not okay to allow the dog to climb the couch when you're not around.
Getting a new family pet is a wonderful experience. Both you and your children will learn how to handle new responsibilities, and you'll always have someone by your side that will protect all family members and love you endlessly. Treat your dog well, and give them the love they deserve. Allow your children to take good care of your new puppy, and if they get along very well, maybe you should consider adopting another dog that needs a loving home.
About the Author:
Jasmine Anderson is a Sydney based lifestyle blogger and a toddler mom, with a Fine Arts Bachelor’s degree. Expressing herself through different mediums is what keeps her spirit bright. She loves to spend quality time with her family, go thrifting, and spend just a little bit too much time on the internet.