Have you recently brought a new puppy into your home and are now questioning whether or not this was a good idea?

If so let’s talk about a couple of things you should have thought about.

Did you really think out what it will be like having a new puppy in their home.

How will your life change with a new puppy in your home?

Kids and Puppies

Did you think about how much time it will take puppy obedience training time and supervised play times with the family and/or the kids? 

If you have kids, kid friends (some may be afraid of puppies and dogs) and all the activities that go along with just the two legged critters, will you still have time left over to tend to the basic needs of your puppy?

Thinking about things as simple as this could save you from making a mistake about getting a puppy in the first place – possibly saving its life.

If you didn’t really plan this out well, all is not lost.  Kids and puppies can be socialized successfully in your household with a little planning and setting some ground rules for both your children and your new puppy. 

I have three very basic rules when it comes to socializing kids and puppies – there are more of course – but these two rules are for dogs and kids safety once you have a new puppy:

1.  Never leave your puppy unsupervised with your kids. Parents must monitor their kid’s interactions with the new puppy. Do not let them lie on top of the puppy or pin it to the ground.  Chase games should not be encouraged and this includes kids chasing the puppy as well as the kids running from or being chased by the puppy. Playing like this kicks in the natural prey drive in a puppy and encourages, jumping, biting and nipping.  Instead, teach your children appropriate interactive games to play with the new puppy like fetch or simply work on obedience commands – all supervised of course

2.  Kids should not hit the puppy, kick the puppy or pull the puppy’s ears.  This kind of kid behavior could frighten your new puppy. The kids should leave him alone when he’s eating.

3.  Crate your puppy when you cannot supervise your puppy.  I define supervision as Eyes On, Hands On.

Your new puppy needs his alone time in the crate away from the high energy and fast pace of the kids. A failure is waiting to happen when you leave your kids to watch your puppy.  He might start having to defend himself when the kids unexpectedly run over to suddenly pick him up, or hug him tightly or other rough play.
Remember, puppies can’t say, “I don’t want to be picked up right now” they will communicate naturally with a growl, snap or bite.

4.  When other kids come over, have them come up to your new puppy for a “supervised greeting.”  Teach the visiting children (and yours as well) that when meeting a new puppy or dog, always:

Get permission.  Ask the owner if they can pet the puppy.

Get the puppy’s permission to be petted.  If the puppy turns his head or walks away, do not pet the puppy. Don’t force the puppy. Respect his decision not to be petted.

Approach the puppy slowly to pet. Turn sideways and don’t stare at the puppy as you approach and if possible, scratch under his chin first. Doing these things will put most puppies at ease more to accept children.

If it’s your puppy, help him experience a successful greeting by putting your foot on his leash to prevent jumping and teach him to be polite to the kids.

If you set and keep rules and boundaries for your kids and puppy, always monitor puppies and children – help both to maintain calm energy (I know that’s a tough one) and crate your puppy when you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, you will lower your stress and your puppy’s stress too!  Just like we spoke about in last week’s article, most adults make multiple puppy training sins and the one who loses out is the puppy.   Don’t let this be your disaster.

 This time of year people get lots of puppies.  Please comment below and tell us how you’re going to set your puppy up to be successful.  We’re listening.

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Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years.  One of his clients says it best: There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.  Jane Wagner

(c)Jim Burwell Inc