Socializing your puppy with your kids
Having a new puppy in the house is a very exciting and memorable experience, especially when you have children in the family. However, every interaction between your child and your new puppy must be closely supervised, especially for the first few days after your puppy’s arrival.
When meeting the puppy for the first time, have your child sit on the floor with her legs crossed. Slowly bring the new puppy up to her. Tell your child to lay out her “gentle hands” as she reaches over to the puppy with palms down and knuckles up so the pup can sniff them.
Give the puppy some time to sniff, but don’t force him to do it. When he’s done smelling her scent, pick him up and put him on your child’s lap while she is sitting on the floor. Let your child pet the puppy, always using her “gentle hands”.
Your new puppy will do one of two things. First, he may stay on your child’s lap while enjoying every second of being pampered. He may even fall asleep after a few minutes. Second, he will leave to walk around and explore his new environment. If he decides to explore, let him do it while you are watching to make sure that he doesn’t get himself into any kind of danger.
If the puppy decides to walk around, tell your child not to chase or pull at him. Your child will likely be very fascinated with the new member of the family that she will want to grab him and put him back on her lap. Remind her about using “gentle hands” when petting.
Be sure to tell your child not to pull, grab, squeeze, drag, or poke the puppy. Doing so can hurt the little dog or result in him reacting aggressively to the child, which could injure or cause the child to fear the puppy.
Gently grab the puppy again and place him back on your child’s lap. If he tries to bolt, let him walk around for a few minutes. Keep in mind that he may still be in shock from being separated from his mother and the newness of his surroundings, or he may just want to explore his new home.
If your child seems discouraged about the puppy continually escaping from her lap, make sure she understands that it is not because the puppy doesn’t like her.
After a few minute of letting your new pup run around, pick him up again and place him on your child’s lap. To make sure that he won’t try to escape, bring a few of his favorite treats along with you.
When he starts to show signs of escaping, show him the treat and have your child gently feed it to him. Your child should place the treat on her palm for the puppy to lick, not on her fingertips where the puppy can accidentally nip her while he grabs for the food.
Remember to stay calm and positive and keep your voice low. This is an exciting time for everyone, an experience that will set the stage toward a happy and healthy friendship between your child and your puppy.