Your kids have been begging for a puppy, and you think they might be ready for a dog. You are perusing local animal shelter websites hoping to see a puppy. Before you bring that little bundle of energy home, think things through.
Your puppy will need to be house trained. In the early stages, the puppy will need to be taken outside as often as every half hour. Several months into it, you may still need to take the puppy out every couple of hours. It is unlikely that your children will be entirely responsible for making this happen. Therefore, much of the training may fall on you, the parent.
Your children will soon be in love with this puppy — which will be teething and chewing. The puppy’s milk teeth are sharp, and it will have no idea how much pain a nibble can inflict on a human. Be prepared for the physical and emotional discomfort, and have some bandages on hand in case the puppy accidentally draws blood. Have an area that is puppy-proofed and away from the kids, who probably will need a break from their pet when it gets hyper and nippy.
Your children might all want the puppy to sleep with them. However, this opens the door for sibling rivalry and squabbles. Decide the puppy’s sleeping arrangements before it ever enters the home.
Decide in advance or make a schedule of who will feed the puppy, and when. How many treats are the kids allowed to give the puppy each day? Will food be reduced when training starts in earnest, causing the dog to be eating more treats than usual as rewards during training sessions? Will the puppy be allowed to eat any “human food?” These considerations will keep your puppy at an appropriate weight.
At first, everyone wants to walk and play with the new puppy, so the kids fight over who gets to do it. Later, as they become less excited about walking or playing off all that puppy energy, the kids start fighting over who has to do it. Plan to make a schedule or find another way to resolve this.
Your dog will need to know some basic commands to be a respectful citizen of the family and neighborhood. Look into the options for dog training classes. Whether you attend classes or go it on your own, make sure the family agrees on what words and hand gestures you will teach your dog and the techniques you will use. If one person points to the floor while saying “sit” and another person points to the floor while saying “down,” the puppy will be confused.
Pre-planning will put your family on the path to success with your puppy.
Does your child, or children, have a special bond with your family pet? Then we want to hear about it! Enter your kid(s) and family pet in iE Parenting’s Animal House Feature Contest, sponsored by Kahoots Pet and Feed Store. Simply click on the link below, tell us your unique story, and submit a photo. The contest is free to enter! Click to Enter…