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Humane Education Leads to Progress
For Informed Dog Owners

Vision Statement: We envision a society free from discrimination, where responsibility, education, love and compassion allow humans to fully respect and understand man's best friend.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Puppies and Kids

Hello all. Dr M here again with more helpful tips.

Getting a new puppy when there are human kids in the house can be a very joyful and stressful situation all at once. Here are a few tips that can help to make the transition a smooth and safe one.

- First and foremost DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Think carefully about what breed of dog you want, research that breed very carefully (this is extremely important!!) to make sure it is a good fit for your family and lifestyle, decide whether you want to purchase a pure bred dog from a breeder or if you want to adopt from a shelter/animal rescue/humane society, do you want an adult dog or a young puppy, will you have the time to train a young puppy, can you financially afford a new puppy/dog, can you obtain the proper veterinary care this new member of your family needs, if you rent a home/apartment are dogs allowed and are there any restricted breeds, are there any restricted breeds in your city/state and are there any specific home owner insurance requirements for specific breeds of dogs. Do NOT impulse buy!! This is a pitfall I have almost fallen into myself. It is very easy to walk into a pet store and fall in love with every puppy. These are all very important things to think about before going out and getting that little furry bundle of joy.
- Talk to your children about dogs and puppies. You can even get a few children's books about getting a new puppy. Discuss how fragile puppies are and how important it is to train them properly and how much responsibility it is to have a dog/puppy. Involve the kids in the entire process!
- Ask children not to give their food to the puppy and not to feed him/her from the table. This is difficult with smaller children as it is common for bits of food to fall from a highchair but do your best to get this point across.
- Explain that it is very easy for a small puppy to get hurt and there are things that they should not do to and with the puppy. Small breed and "toy" puppies are VERY fragile and can be very easily injured. It is common for me to see small puppies in my office with broken legs because they were dropped or roughly handled by a child. This can be a very painful and stressful situation for the puppy and is usually a very costly experience for owners. So think twice before getting very small or "toy" dogs if you have toddlers.
- Tell children not to pull on puppy's tail, ears or legs and discourage them from touching or bothering the puppy while he/she is sleeping.
- Show kids the correct way to handle/hold/lift the new puppy. Start with small steps like allowing the child to hold the puppy in their lap while sitting on the floor or in a chair.
- Remind children that the puppy is not a child, and as such, cannot engage in certain play activities that they do like going down a slide, riding on a swing or jumping into a swimming pool.
- It is of course also important to involve the kids in the process. Give children small puppy care chores that they can easily manage. For example, filling the puppy's water dish, hanging up his/her leash after a walk, or putting the puppy's toys away at the end of the day.
- Understand that it is the adults in the household that ultimately are responsible for all of the puppy's care and overall well being.
-Teach kids to respect the puppy's "privacy" when he/she is making potty and when the puppy is in its crate.
- Always, always, always supervise children when they are interacting with a dog/puppy. This will insure that both puppy and child are safe and happy.
By following these simple tips, having a new puppy or dog in your house can truly be a joyful experience for all!

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