There are many things to consider when choosing to bring a puppy into a home with children. One thing to think about is what type of dog will be gentle and tolerate the child’s behavior. Your new puppy is not just a pet, he or she is a member of the family and as such, needs to be treated well by everyone – especially the children.
Whatever type of puppy or dog you choose, some type of training will be in order:
- Make sure your children are mature enough to have self control and understand directions. Very very young children just naturally pull hair, poke eyes, fall on the dog or puppy. All of these behavior are extremely hard on a dog.
- One way to tell how your child will act around a dog or puppy is to take the child around a friend’s dog and see what your child does. Is your child hard on the dog? Does your child listen to you when you tell him “no” around the dog?
- Small puppies, generally, are NOT the best choice if you have young children. In their own right, puppies are very much like small children themselves, and they will take a lot of time and attention. If you have small children also, your time is limited and your probably won’t have time to devote to the puppy to help it navigate it’s way to being a well trained dog.
- Make sure your puppy or dog has the ability to get away from the kids in a safe place, like a crate or kennel in a quiet area of the house. You need to get away from your kids occasionally—so does your dog.
- Understand that just by nature of being kids, the high energy, the screaming, the legs and arms going 90 mph, will always bring out the prey drive in your puppy or dog. Know what to do to address this.
- Kids and dogs is a 2 way street. Don’t automatically assume your puppy or dog will “know” how to act around children. They must be taught, JUST as your children must be taught the appropriate way to act with a puppy or dog.
Consistency and repetition are the key. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.
Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”