How to introduce a new dog to your kids


"Dog is man's best friend," is a saying holds true any time, any day. But as you know, a lasting friendship doesn't spark up immediately neither does it happen where it isn't encouraged. It's no different between the kids and your dog.

Whether you just got your first dog or bringing in another, you have to introduce this new dog to your children. Why?

For a dog, the first few days in a new home can be a very strange experience for the dog. Everything looks and feels strange, new faces everywhere; the change in environment leaves the dog feeling stressed, nervous and threatened.

And, as beautiful as owning a dog is, there are about 1,000 cases of dog bites reported every day – of course, you do not want your dog or child to make this statistic.

That's why we wrote this article, to walk you through the necessary steps to successfully introduce a new dog to your kids. Read on for more.

Let the first contact be somewhere spacious

This could when you're out on a walk or outside on the lawn. This way your dog feels like there's room to escape if he has too and will be less nervous. However, if you must do it in your home, avoid closed spaces like elevators, stairs, or hallways.

Give space

Have your child approach the dog from the side –calmly, and allow enough space for the dog to willingly come to the child. Approaching the dog from the side allows him the time and space to think, and relax, without feeling threatened. The purpose here again is to ensure the dog does not feel threatened. In a new environment, and seeing strange faces, the dog is likely to feel awkward and somehow reserved. When bringing your child to the dog, allow some space, so the dog doesn't feel he's about to be attacked by your kid. Once the dog feels comfortable, he is likely to approach the kid himself.

Teach your child to touch the dog gently

Children may unintentionally pull the coat of their new furry friend. And being a new member of the family, the dog may not know the child means no harm. He may even attack the kid. You don't want a bad first impression, so ensure you teach your kid to gently touch his new pup friend.

Avoid loud sounds or sudden movements

Many children show their joy of having a new four-legged best friend by being loud – we can't blame them, can we? They may even want to squeeze and hug their new pup. But this may scare your new pooch and make him defensive, resulting in biting or nipping. Ensure your kids remain calm and approach the dog in the calmest manner.

No toys or treats

By all means, get your new pooch some toys and give him a treat, but not on the day you're introducing him to you child. Some dogs, out of excitement, may snatch the treat from little fingers which could cause harm. Besides that, offering the dog a toy on the first day may result in territorial issues and this could create a bad first impression in your child.

Never leave your dog and child unattended

As earlier stated, children may mean no harm –well, most time they don't. But a new dog is not likely to be aware of this. No matter how well-mannered or trained the dog is, when it feels threatened, it is likely to defend itself by attacking. So the best way to protect both the dog and your child is to stay nearby and supervise the interaction.

Use a leash

Some dogs do not make friends as easily as others, that's why it's important to be prepared, so you won't be taken unawares. There is no harm in you trying to be extra safe. So experts recommend using a leash. You may leave a leash on the dogs' collar so as to aid handling, just in case things start going out of hand –you can never be too careful.

That's it, these simple steps will help plant the seed of friendship that will last for many years. I stumbled upon an article about how having a dog at home helps children become better adults as well as improve reading skills in those that read aloud to their dogs for 10 weeks. It's worth taking the time to do it right.

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