Bringing home a new puppy is a very exciting and memorable experience, especially when there are children in the family. There is something very special about seeing a small child and a loving puppy playing happily together. Psychological studies have proven that people who are fortunate enough to grow up with a dog in the family household tend to have happier childhoods.
Children who grow up with a family dog learn respect for other creatures as well as caring for them. These kids learn empathy, sympathy, handling responsibilities. They also develop self-confidence and self-esteem by knowing they are contributing to taking care of a living creature.
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These benefits and learning experiences between children and their pets do not occur automatically. It takes a responsible and patient adult to properly introduce the child to the new puppy and teach him/her how to properly interact with this new member of the family.
At the same time, the puppy needs to learn respect and obey the child the same way as he respects and obeys the other members of the household. This way, every member of the family can have a loving and healthy relationship.
The manner in which you approach your puppy and the experiences that you give him from his very first minute in the house will create a lasting impact throughout his entire life. From the first introduction, your child should learn the proper way to treat the puppy. Your child should realize that the puppy is a baby, and in many ways should be treated like one.
Avoiding Injuries To Your Child and the Puppy
Your child will likely be very fascinated with the new member of the family – so much so that she will want to grab him and put him on her lap. Be sure to tell your child not to pull, grab, squeeze, drag, or poke the puppy. Doing so can hurt the little dog or result in him reacting aggressively to the child, which could injure or cause the child to fear the puppy.
Children around the age of 7 years and younger have the tendency to get excited when faced with new situations and experiences. This excitement may not be ideal when it comes to meeting a new puppy, or a dog of any age for that matter.
Excited behaviors such as making loud noises, chasing after the puppy, pulling at him, and other aggressive behaviors will result in the puppy getting scared.
In this situation, the puppy will more likely run away instead of letting the child pet him. A very young puppy will try to find his mom and hide under her, while a puppy around 12 weeks old will perceive these behaviors as either a threat or an aggressive play and will most likely react by nipping or jumping up.
The proper way of introducing your new pet to your child is through restraint and guidance. Your child should realize that the puppy is a baby and that your child should be gentle when handling him. To better teach your young ones how to be gentle, use a stuffed animal and teach her how to pet it properly. Practice this with your child for a few days before the puppy arrives home.
Remember to stay calm and positive and don’t raise your voice. This is an exciting time for everyone and is an experience that will set the stage toward a happy and healthy friendship between your child and your puppy.
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