Introducing Your New Dog to Your Children
by Elaine Gerwitz
Kids and dogs go together like peanut butter and jelly—most of the time. To help this combination stick together for a happy lifelong relationship, take a few steps before adding a four-legged friend to your household.
MAKE GOOD FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Before the new dog comes home, sit down with your child and other family members and discuss a few simple rules. All adults should agree on and enforce them.
Talk about how first impressions matter, and explain that the dog needs time and everyone’s patience to properly adjust to his new surroundings. If the dog did not grow up with children, he may not know how to act around them and may be scared, nervous, or overly excited.
Loud, fast-moving toddlers can overwhelm a dog. If he’s afraid of the children, he may not want to play with them and will avoid any contact. Explain to your child to use her soft indoor voice when speaking and refrain from throwing toys. This will let the dog know that children are okay and can provide a lot of fun.
Depending on her age, your child can help care for the dog but should never be expected to perform basic chores alone, such as feeding, providing fresh water, cleaning up messes, or taking him for a walk. Your child can play with the dog and give him treats or a new toy, but only with strict adult supervision.
To ease your dog’s transition to your household, it helps to stock up on doggy supplies before he arrives. Here are a few basic supplies your dog will need:
- Collar and ID: Look for a snug-fitting buckle or snap collar made of leather or cloth. Attach ID tags that include your current contact information.
- Crate and bed: A quality crate, like one of the Four Paws® Deluxe Dog Crates, helps reduce housetraining time and provides the perfect den, giving your dog some peace and quiet. A soft, comfy bed works wonders for sweet dreams.
- Dog food and treats: Your canine companion deserves to eat nutritious meals and treats to remain in the best condition.
- Grooming items: You’ll need canine shampoo, doggy toothpaste and a toothbrush, nail clippers, and a brush or a comb appropriate for your dog’s coat. Magic Coat® grooming tools will help your dog look and feel his best.
- Leash: A sturdy, 100-percent natural cotton Four Paws® Dog Training Lead feels comfortable to hold but strong enough for your dog. At 5/8” wide, with a solid bronze swivel snap that clips securely onto your dog’s collar, these leashes come in lengths from 6 feet to 50 feet.
- Toys: A few chew toys will help keep your dog entertained when you’re otherwise occupied.
Introducing your dog to your child in a positive way and stocking up on the right canine supplies will get the relationship off on the right paw!