Dogs and Children

10 Things to Teach Your Children About a New Dog:

1.       Be gentle and calm.  Before the dog arrives, practice greeting the dog gently and calmly.

2.       Understand that the dog isn’t a toy.  Although they may be soft and furry like a favorite stuffed animal, it’s important that your child understand that the dog need to be treated like a real member of the family.

3.      Make sure there’s an adult around when they play with the dog.

4.       Respect the dog’s basic needs and moods.  Your children should learn that just as with a human baby, young animals need lots of rest.  Tell them not to bother a puppy when it’s sleeping or resting.

5.       A great way to give your children responsibility is to give them pet chores!  Each week mix up the duties, so that everyone is engaged and no one’s chore gets “forgotten.”

6.       Treat animals the way they themselves would like to be treated.  Explain that all animals want to feel safe and loved, just like humans.

7.       Realize that the new pet will be annoying at times.  Help your child understand that brining an animal home isn’t just fun; it’s also a bit life changing, almost like adding a new child to the family.

8.       Understand the dog might play favorites.  Sometimes a new puppy may seem to prefer one person in the family over another, and this can lead to hurt feelings by other family members.  Ask your children to be patient as the dog may take a while to come around. 

9.       Help keep the pet safe.  Teach your child that they need to keep their eyes open and make sure the dog stays safe from everyday household dangers like foods they should be eating or gates in the yard that don’t close all the way.

10.Empathize with the dog.  It’s not enough to pet the dog gently or keep from yelling – children should be taught to try and look at things through the pet’s eyes, especially when it first comes home!


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