Adopting a new puppy is a joyous event, but it is a process you and your family need to prepare for. Kids will love receiving this new member of the family. They will love, coddle and enjoy playing with this new puppy, but before the kids start making those moments, you need to prepare everyone for the challenge of bringing this new member of the family home.
Getting the Puppy Zone Ready
Before you bring your puppy home, set up an area where he will feel safe. It is always best to have a smaller area closed off so the puppy can get used to his new home. The house will be unfamiliar to him, and of course, he won’t know the rules, so a designated area will really help make things more comfortable. Place a bed, water, and dog toys in a zone you can close off in some way. By doing this, your new puppy won’t make mistakes and eat something he is not supposed to touch.
After you set up this area, you can show it to the kids. If the puppy is going to be in a room, make sure the kids know to keep the door closed. If you plan on using a crate, make sure you open the crate door for the majority of the day. A puppy will feel safe in his crate, so long as he doesn’t feel in danger without a way out.
Start Teaching Early in the Relationship
Like toddlers, puppies are full of energy, and this can be quite destructive, especially if you don’t set boundaries and show him where he can play. Too much play in living areas may give your puppy the wrong idea. So it is important to set rules before you bring the puppy home. Set clear rules and tell your children where and when they can play with the puppy.
Some of these rules might include avoiding beds, staying off the furniture, and keeping food off rugs.
Plan Out the Responsibility Chores
Children need to know that having a pet isn’t all fun and games. They have to clean up poo, take the puppy out for walks, feed, and bathe him as needed. These are responsibilities children need to learn to do. Assign chores that children can take on. A younger child can help groom and pick up dog toys. Older children can handle feeding, walking, and bathing. Think about setting up a chore list for every family member and change the list up every couple of days, assigning a chore to a different child.
If you plan on training your pup, you will want your entire family to participate. It’s good to take online dog training courses, because your entire family can watch these and learn how to discipline and train puppy. Ask kids to keep practicing and give them something that helps them to continue training.
If you want to keep family mealtimes peaceful, you’ll want to entertain the new puppy with something delicious in a contained part of the house. You can place the puppy in a closed-off room or in his crate while you have dinner.
A puppy’s meals can also be a great bonding time. Kids can be helpers and help you scoop dog food into a bowl or offer a cool feeding toy. They can also help you give water to your new puppy.
The Puppy and Small Children
Like puppies, small children are very demanding. Remember to keep toys or food available for your puppy while you spend needed time with a young child. If the puppy needs attention, you can help your child spend time coloring, in a high chair, or give him a piece of fruit to keep him entertained.
If you have small children, be sure to teach them to be gentle with the puppy. You can practice using stuffed animals. Teach your toddler to gently stroke a toy and have him practice by keeping his hand flat and avoid pulling the fur.
Keeping Everyone Safe
When you bring a puppy home, you are exposing your kids to a dog. The same holds true for the dog. So you want to be aware of all the safety issues and know what you can do.
Risks to Kids
Dog bite – minimize this risk by having a safe space for the puppy so he can get used to the house and space.
Intestinal parasites – be sure your new puppy makes a trip to the vet to remove parasites and other issues.
Risks to the Dog
Stress and anxiety – A pup can become much stressed from being poked, prodded, and chased. Keep your new pet in a designated space where kids need to stay away for certain parts of the day.
Poisoning – common things such as infant pain relievers, diaper creams, raisins, or grapes left on the floor can make the new puppy sick, so be sure to check all areas where the puppy will be. Make sure the kids know they need to keep puppy play areas free from small toys and items the puppy could chew.
Make Everything Ready
Getting a new puppy is not a spur of the moment event for your family. You need to make a plan before adding this new member to the family. It is important to have designated feeding and resting areas. You want to purchase your puppy’s new bed, feeding bowls, and even a sleeping crate before you get your new pet. Be sure to set up a chore list and make sure every family member knows what their part or full-time responsibility will be. Be sure to get verbal commitments from each member of the family.