This can be a match made in heaven or a complete nightmare and this will depend on the ages of the children and the temperament of the dog. Clear ground rules are needed!
Children and dogs should always be supervised by and adult. Both can be guilty of unsuitable behaviour if not watched.
- No hugging or cuddling the puppy! Puppies don’t like it. Children need to be actively taught that their dog has feelings and is not just a cuddly interactive toy.
- Your puppy is not a doll don’t pick him puppy up! This is a role for adults only and only if necessary. Most puppies feel very insecure when picked up. Feeling insecure can lead to aggression.
- Do not disturb your puppy when he is sleeping. It is important that children realise dogs need time to rest. All dogs should have a quiet place that they can retreat to when they’ve had enough excitement! A crate or bed which is the puppy’s domain only is a good way of handling this.
- Puppies need to learn that children are not fair game for puppy play biting and boisterous play. The puppy needs to learn that children are not siblings. Encourage children to do calm things with your puppy and avoid situations where the puppy gets over excited. Teach children to stay calm and still if their puppy becomes over excited. Tell them to “be a tree” and call an adult to call the puppy away.
- No rough and tumble games or chasing games as this will encourage your puppy to bite and treat the children as a toy. Chasing games can result in children being knocked over or result in the puppy biting at clothing or ankles.
- Get the children to play fetch, frisbee, football and hide and seek with your puppy. Your puppy will love these games forever.
- Take your dog to a training class and get your children involved with what you have learned.
- Get your children to feed the dog.