While there's no denying that adding a puppy to your family is a huge commitment, a bit of prep work before you bring your puppy home can help set your family up for success.
Carol Campbell, DVM, shares what she's seen in her years as a vet: ”As veterinarians, it is all too common that we see families that are overwhelmed by the addition of a new puppy to the family. In order to be as prepared as possible, it is important to take into consideration the breed of the puppy. Energy level, size, exercise needs, grooming requirements, the amount of living space available, and whether or not they will get along with children are just a few of the issues that need to be considered.”
So, once you've done your homework and you've carefully chosen the best breed for your family, what else should you know? Here are five things that your children need to understand about their new furry friend.
Children should understand that it’s never OK to climb on or manhandle their puppy in any way. They should also be reminded to never pull the puppy’s ears or tail. These early days play a huge role in their budding relationship and your puppy will be busy learning with whom he can feel safe.
Children should know to never touch or even approach their puppy when he’s eating. Dogs should be given enough space in which to eat without feeling the need to defend their food. Puppy mealtime and curious kids make for a bad combination that could result in your child being nipped.
Kids should be taught to never chase their puppy through the house. Your pup will quickly learn that this is a fun game and will likely try to play it at the most inopportune times. Once your puppy learns that running from you is acceptable, you’ll have a tough time getting him to come when called. Scolding your puppy will then only confuse him, so avoiding this game in the first place is best for everyone.
While it's very tempting to hold your new puppy, kids should never be allowed to carry him around. Small children aren't strong or steady enough to hold their new friend and walk around with him. Instead, have your child sit on the floor when holding their puppy. It takes only one accidental drop to make a puppy scared and less trusting of your child, which can damage their growing relationship.
Children should know that all puppies chew and they will inevitably find your child's favorite toy and chew it beyond recognition if it's left within reach. To avoid heartache for your child as well as your new puppy, all prized possessions should be placed in a safe spot and your puppy should be provided with plenty of safe chew toys.
Teaching your children the basics on how to treat their new puppy will help them to form a friendship that will bring tremendous joy to your family and provide memories that will last a lifetime.
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