Watching a child burst into tears of joy and happiness when being surprised with that new puppy they have been begging for is such an adorable moment to watch. Welcoming home a new puppy can be an exciting time for a family but we must not forget that it could be an overwhelming experience for a young pup especially when it comes to interacting with children for the first time.
Children look, sound, and even smell different from adults. They are smaller, louder, and sometimes unpredictable. The sights and sounds of a child running around screaming, crying, or laughing can scare a puppy. If an adult dog grows up without proper socialization and exposure to children, it could lead to bigger issues and unfortunately, some cases have led to bite accidents.
For puppy owners who have children, you will need to teach them how to respect and understand the dog. Please be advised that children and dogs should never be left alone together unsupervised. You should manage and control the environment to ensure the safety of both the dog and the child and this can be taught in a fun way! Let’s dive deeper into the theme of children training dogs.
Children should be taught how to act around a dog. Teach them how to properly handle the puppy such as petting the dog in a calm and gentle manner.
Educate them that when handling a puppy, there should never be any force or pain inflicted on the dog. Have them gently touch areas such as the front and back paws, ears, eye area, back, and tail while giving a treat at the same time. This will condition the puppy to associate children as positive.
Just like how children are taught to have manners, dogs need to be taught manners too. Teach and show your children how fun it is to train obedience to a dog. For example, the child can ask the puppy for a sit before giving a tasteful treat. You can also have fun working as a team with your child by using our built-in clicker on our Dogo App! You can ask the dog for a sit and your child can mark the correct behavior by clicking and giving a yummy treat or vice versa. A child even as young as 5 years old can teach a dog clicker training!
Keep the puppy on a leash while supervised during playtime with children. It is the best way to prevent nipping, jumping, and rambunctious play. You can also tether the puppy to a stable object so that it makes it easier for the child to get up and walk away if the puppy nips. Playtime can also be used for training time. A child can train and teach the puppy to have impulse control by asking the dog to sit and be calm before playtime can continue. If the puppy sits instead of nipping and jumping up, the child can continue the fun game of tug-of-war with toys or a toss of a ball. Again, you should keep the puppy on a long leash to use as a tool for managing unwanted behaviors.
Puppy Owners Without Children
It is highly recommended that you start to invite friends and family members’ children over to your home. If it is a group of children, make sure to have one child at a time handling and training the dog whether it is a puppy or an adult dog. The same rule applies for when or if you meet groups of children outside of your home that wants to come up and pet your dog. Teach them that it is best for the dog if only one child at a time pets or gives a treat.
If a young puppy gets proper socialization and exposure to children, the dog will become confident around children during his or her puppy life and during adolescence. In addition, if both children and dogs are taught to respect each other, it will create a loving and fun bond for them!