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Most kids nag their parents for a dog some time in their childhood.  Kids love dogs and dogs love kids – most of the time. However, the early stages of a child and pet’s relationship can be problematic in some instances.  To ensure a happy relationship, you need to take a few steps before adding a furry friend to the family.

Set Rules with the Family

It is important to lay down a few ground rules for both your child and other family members  before the new dog arrives.  Depending on the age of your child, they can help take care of the dog, like playing, feeding, providing water, and cleaning up the little messes that comes with having a dog.  This will also teach your child kindness and responsibility.

Do not assume that your child will instinctively know how to deal with a pup or dog, or with any animal for that matter. Your child’s natural instincts may be to see the pet in the same light as a toy, especially toddlers. Children may also feel that the pet must interact with them only as they please without understanding that the dog does not perceive their environment in the same way as humans do.

Explain to your child how to treat the dog.  If it is a little puppy, they need to be gentle and not to hurt the puppy.  If it is a grown dog and is not used to children, explain to your child to use their soft indoor voice, and not show any signs of aggression even if it is unintentional.  This will help the dog get used to children and settle in.

Give Your Dog Their Own Identity

Your pet will become part of the family but he or she also needs to have their own identity. This will include their own belongings and space. Stocking up on dog supplies beforehand will ease your dog’s move into your household.  It will help your child understand that the pet has its own needs and space. It will also allow your child to partake with pet responsibilities.