first day home with your puppy is a special day for you and your family. Everyone will
be trying to find their new position in the household. There are new
responsibilities, new adventures, and new toys everywhere!
Bringing a new puppy home is
exciting but it can also be quite expensive, exhausting, and scary. A puppy’s needs are not unlike any new
addition to the family. They need lots of love, patience, and kindness,
but they also need clear rules and expectations from day one. They will need a
place of their own and a safe environment all around them.
Preparing for your Puppy
Preparations for your first day home with your new puppy should begin well before they ever romp across the living
room or leave their footprints in the grass outside.
Your family should be made aware of the way having a new puppy can change the structure in your home. Children
need to understand that puppies are not toys and cannot be treated as such.
Everyone needs to know that anything left out could get chewed, messes will get
made, and a puppy will need to sleep
as much as they will need to play.
Introducing the new Puppy to
Your first day home with your new puppy
will set up what will become a standard of care for the future. Make sure children are taught to be
careful when handling a puppy and
small children should NEVER carry a puppy
around. An adult should monitor interactions with small children at all
times. Some puppies are very
fragile and all puppies are wiggly, and rambunctious. Children should
be taught to treat a puppy with respect. Children should never be in
charge of discipline or correction of behavior.
When introducing a puppy to children
in your home, make sure you lay down ground rules first. The children should be clear
on what the rules and expectations are before you start to teach them to the
puppy. If a small child would like to hold the puppy they should first
sit down, so when the puppy wriggles away, they will not fall and get hurt.
Some basic rules should include:
1. Pick up your toys…or they may get ruined.
2. Do not wake a sleeping puppy. They need their rest.
3. Do not interrupt a puppy that is eating. You might get bitten.
4. Do not carry a puppy around. Puppies break when dropped.
5. Do not hit a puppy. It is an adult’s job to discipline.
6. Treat a puppy like a friend, not a toy.
If you’d like to find out more about introducing a new puppy to your family, download our free ebook: My First Best Friend.
If you are already a happy dog owner and your baby is about to arrive, you might wonder whether your baby is going to be safe around the dog, whether you should keep your pet at all. Many families in this situation are worried about the safety of their baby. The truth is, if you have the time to prepare your dog for the baby’s arrival, there should be no problem at all.
The opposite case, if you already have a child and are thinking about getting a dog, is a bit easier, because you have the opportunity to choose a breed that is good with children. There is no one breed that is perfect with children. It mostly depends on the dog’s individual temperament, training and early socialization. It is a good idea to browse around classifieds and see whats on offer.
If your child is very young (under 6 years old) it is recommended to get a dog which is more than 2 years old, because they need less attention. However, in this case you must make sure that the dog has been well socialized and obedience trained. While it is a common misbelief that small breeds are better with children, in fact, these dogs are usually more fragile, so kids can easily hurt them, which can lead to the dog being aggressive. Herding or protective breeds are not recommended either, as they might try to herd children due to their natural instinct.
Whatever breed you choose, it is always important not to leave your baby or young child and the dog together without supervision, until they both learn the rules. One thing is certain, having dogs can not be a wrong decision, if the parents are responsible. A dog in the family can also teach your child learn responsibility at a young age and that animals need constant care and attention. Learn more about what breeds are considered good with children.
Recently, we received a request for a guide dog for a 10 year old child. The family has been trying to locate a suitable seeing eye dog for their daughter but without any luck. They found that responsible trainers don’t allow children under 17 to have guide dogs. The obvious question is, ‘Why can’t my child have a well trained guide dog if she is 10?’
Here is the question asked by one of her parents:
‘My daughter is the one who is in need of a dog. She is almost 10. We adopted her from China when she was 4. You can actually “google” her on internet under “Cricket Bidleman.” In the US, we cannot find a guide dog provider who will provide a dog to any child under 17 years. Cricket is in regular school, and her only difficulty is when she moves from class to class or to the field because even with a cane, she ends up running into things a quite a bit since she can’t see.’
As much as we all would love to help Cricket, training and placing a Guide Dog is a huge responsibility on the owner as well as the dog. It can take years to properly train a guide dog. However, it doesn’t stop there! The blind or visually impaired person needs training as well. This includes learning how to be a responsible and understanding dog owner, how to sense the dog’s signs and messages and how to respond to them.
In addition, to complete their training, the dogs need a “follow up training” with their new family and owner in order to accustom them to the personality of their master.
The best advice I can give you, is to wait till your child is at least 16 years old as she has to learn how to handle a seeing eye dog. Even if someone would provide a guide dog for a child under 16, you should understand that it might do more harm than good.