How to Introduce a Dog to a Child

You’ve probably already heard the saying that “dogs are man’s best friend.” If you’ve had a pet dog before, you know that this mantra is generally true. 

Most dog owners have heartwarming stories to tell about the precious time they spent with their precious friends. In fact, they can even become valuable members of your family and have a special place in your heart. 

For many parents who are also pet lovers, they believe that having a dog in their home can teach their children a sense of responsibility, love, and gentleness. However, when introducing your child to new dogs that you bring into your home, you should be careful as there are instances wherein dogs may react in an unfriendly manner. 

So if you want to avoid injuries, read on as we teach you the right way to introduce a new dog to a child. 

1. Teach your children how to gently touch and handle dogs.

Children are so innocent, and sometimes, they don’t don’t realize that they are squeezing or pulling the dog’s coat too hard. Obviously, when a dog gets hurt, it may show aggressive behaviors such as biting. If you want to avoid such problems, teach your child the proper way to touch and pet a dog.

2. Let the dog sniff your child.

Dogs love using their sense of smell and they even use it to say “hello” and find out who you are. So before letting your child pet your new dog, have your child stand still and allow your dog to sniff around you and your child. 

Also, it is recommended to have your child curl in their fingers and don’t push their hand into the dog’s face if you want your dog to smell it. Let your new furry friend come to you and your child willingly. If you want to take extra precaution, you can also bring your child’s blanket to let your new dog smell it before introducing your child.

3. Teach your child to approach the dog from the side calmly.

Teach your child to approach your new dog from the side calmly, and make sure to give enough room to allow the dog to come to your child willingly. This will prevent the dog from feeling overwhelmed and give it a chance to greet your child on its own terms.

4. Avoid sudden movements and loud sounds.

Remind your child to remain calm regardless of the excitement– don’t let your child hug and squeeze the dog right away. This is because sudden movements or loud sounds may startle or frighten your new dog. Dogs are sweet, but when they feel threatened, they will protect themselves by biting or displaying other aggressive behaviors.

5. Don’t interrupt the dog’s sleep or meals.

Who won’t get annoyed when your sleep or meals get interrupted? So when your dog is sleeping or eating, tell your child to give it some space and introduce your child later to avoid any issues.

6. Watch the body language of your dog.

Take some time to understand what your dog’s tails and body expressions mean. Generally, if your dog’s tail is rigid, its ears are back, and the fur on its back is sticking upright, the dog is not ready for the introduction. Approach with extreme caution because it may be ready to attack you.

7. Use a leash or have your dog learn commands first.

It is recommended to use a leash for the first introduction with your child or have it learn a few basic commands first. Commands such as “sit” can help keep your dog under control and allow you to make introductions calmly. Meanwhile, the leash will allow you to pull your dog away from your child in case things get wild.

8. Don’t leave your child and dog unattended.

If your dog is not yet familiar with your child, it’s not advisable to leave your child alone with it. Even the most well-mannered dogs can act aggressively when overwhelmed or threatened. So take extra precaution by staying nearby and watching them together.

Final Thoughts

We understand that you are excited to introduce your new dog to your children. However, it is important to note that it takes some time for dogs to get familiar with new people, and forming a solid bond takes some work.

With the tips shared in this article on how to approach new dogs, handle them properly, and remain calm around them, we can significantly reduce the likelihood that something unfortunate will happen when you introduce your new dogs to your children. 

If you want your dog to be well-behaved and well-trained to ensure a smooth relationship between your dog and the rest of your family, the best thing that you can do is to hire a professional dog trainer. Delaware K9 Academy offers private classes, 2-week bootcamps, and puppy training depending on your needs.

So if you want to explore your options, check out their website and contact Delaware K9 Academy today.