Introducing a new dog into your home is always exciting, especially for kids. However, to make sure everything goes smoothly, you want to make sure you handle the introduction right. Everything should go safely and smoothly for both kids and adults with proper introductions.
Good Planning Makes a Difference
Planning how you will introduce your children to a new dog helps things go more smoothly. One thing to do is help your children understand that a new dog might be nervous and that gentle treatment is essential.
Helping your child understand a dog's body language may help eliminate problems. You might consider making somewhat of a game out of quizzing your child on what behaviors correspond to which mood.
A few helpful hints:
- Depending on your children's ages and attention spans, you might want to introduce one or two children at a time to the dog
- A minimum of two adults should be present for better crowd control
- Don't plan the introduction for right after a meal, because food crumbs and smells might cause overexcitement
The S.A.F.E. Program is an excellent way to help children remember how to interact with a new, (or even familiar) dog. S.A.F.E. stands for Stay, Arms, Face, and Eyes. Read more about these four things here.
Making a Good Introduction
Even if your child or children helped you pick the dog at a shelter or adoption event, an introduction is most helpful. The typical adoption setting is much different from home, so it's better to make sure you take steps for a better home introduction:
- Put the dog on a leash to allow for better control
- Consider taking the dog for a walk to curb excess energy and allow more interactions
- Avoid having toys out, which could encourage overly possessive behavior
- Always give out treats on a flat palm instead of in a fist to discourage nips
- Encourage the dog to follow basic commands if he or she knows any
- Make sure your child is always gentle, and stop rough behavior as quickly as possible
Bringing a new dog into your family is often a great choice for all involved, but works best when you take the time to do the introductions properly. Your child is more likely to get the most out of the experience with a good effort being put into the introduction.
Are you introducing a new dog to a cat? There's a proper way to do that as well! Read about it here.