But HOW do You Have Your New Dog Play with Kids
Written by Ed Frawley
One of the most common questions we get with new dog owners concerns how to get their puppy to interact with their small children. Here is a typical question that came in from my free management course:
"I'm trying to pour through the website, course, and videos looking for how to socialize my 9 week old puppy with my 6 year old son. Because the puppy is very playful biting, I'm having to keep them away. When and how do I let them play together? What steps do I take? Everything I see on here is about keeping kids away from dogs for fear of dog bites...but how do I get kids to play with the dog?? -Kelly"
Sometimes we want things for our puppies (AKA Dogs) and kids that are not possible, unrealistic and in many cases dangerous. That's what you’re facing.
A six-year-old child is not going to safely play with a 9-week old puppy without getting chewed on and scratched. That is just not going to happen.
When puppies are with littermates they bite, chew and jump up on one another. When they move in with a family they think that’s how to interact with the new family. Why wouldn’t they that’s all they have known from the day they were born.
The problem is, which I am sure you you already know, is puppies have sharp sharp needle baby teeth.
Let your puppy bite your hand and quickly jerk it away - you will see WHY they are often called razor teeth. Puppies keep these baby teeth until they lose them at 5 to 6 months of age.
Puppies also have sharp sharp nails that scratch even when the puppy doesn't mean to.
It's our job to teach them how to interact with humans. That does not happen overnight, it takes months, not weeks.
In the meantime puppy owners need to practice good management techniques. That means learn how to use Ex-pens, dog crates and puppy leashes in the house.
They also need to teach this kids not to do anything with the pups unless you are right there to supervise. This interaction always needs to be on leash so you can control the situation.
One of the best ways to start this interaction is on walks. Puppies need exercise, they need to burn off all the energy they have. The same often applies to our kids. Taking them both for a walk is a good step to teach each of them how to interact and get along. I recommend two walks a day for both kids and puppies. Walks with our dogs are one of the most valuable and least used training tools that people use.
One thing I caution new puppy owners against is to be very careful not to over-correct their puppies. Too often the owners lack of supervision or lack of attention results in puppy doing something he shouldn’t, be it with kids or getting into something they shouldn’t. Correcting the puppy for our mistake doesn’t create the result we want.
When puppy owners take the time and have the patience to learn how to raise a puppy correctly they end up with a really nice family pet.
The thing you need to realize is many puppies (depending on their temperament) may not be ready to interact with the kids until they are a year or more old. Our Border Terrier (Stella) was 3 ½ years old before we trusted her enough to leave her out of her crate when we left the house.
That process goes a faster when you have the right information and tools for your training program.
We sell the tools to teach you how to raise your puppy to get along with your children. I have produced many excellent puppy videos to help train your dog in multiple areas. Below is a list of recommended products that we sell. You can also browse more products at Leerburg.com.
Ed Frawley addresses some of the concerns and solutions when introducing a dog into a home with children.