New Puppy… what to expect part 2: Your puppy and small children

Making sure your new family member joining the household in a smooth transition will actually require two different training processes: one for your puppy and one for your child!

Your child needs to learn that the puppy is NOT a toy! Small children can tend to pull on dogs ears and poke their fingers in sensitive areas such as the ear, nose and even the eyes of dogs. It is important to approach and introduce your child to the dog in a respectful way, so from the beginning they treat the dog as a distinct member of the family and not a play thing that they own. For very young children (under 4), it might be a better idea to keep them seperate for the safety of both the child and the pup.

Something that I do not agree with is having children actively participate in the early stages of disciplining the dog. While it is important that the dog realize that in the pecking order of the household they are a step below the children, it is better for them to recognize you as the main figure of authority, that is, the alpha. It is more effective for you to set the rules and training habits and then, as the dog becomes acclimated to you as the alpha, have your children imitate your routines and commands so the dog gradually comes to look at them as figures of authority, while still keeping you in mind as the master.

Next time we’ll talk more about children and new puppies, including setting limits on play habits and how to prevent the dogs from jumping on top of your small children!

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