How to Teach a Child to Play With a Puppy

Puppies bring joy into your home and make great additions to your family. There’s nothing more beautiful than seeing the happiness and excitement in your child’s face when you bring home a new puppy.

It’s as if your child has found a new friend in the form of your new pet. They can play and learn together, and in the process, grow together. However, before they establish that strong of a bond, you need to help them establish a solid foundation.

As an adult, it is your responsibility to teach your children how to play with the puppy, handle it properly, and respect its boundaries. Both children and puppies can easily get over-excited, curious, and impatient. Without your supervision, they may end up hurting each other unintentionally.

In this article, we will help you teach your child to play with a puppy the right way.

1. Teach your child that the puppy is not a toy.

Children can be so innocent that they might initially think that puppies are toys. So set the record straight and make your child understand that it is a living being with feelings, and that it needs to be loved and cared for. Emphasize that they should treat the puppy with gentleness.

If your children are excited to include the new puppy in their activities, but it seems like the puppy needs some time to adjust to its new environment and family, make sure to explain it to your children.

Help them understand that they can play with the puppy, but give it some time to adjust. If not careful, your children can get hurt just by simply trying to pick up the puppy that is not yet ready for introductions. Once the puppy appears to be ready to interact with your children, teach them the right way to handle it. Make sure that the first interactions are under your close supervision.

2. Teach your child to remain calm and handle the puppy with care.

Puppies enjoy playtime. When they become too excited, they might display behaviors such as nipping and jumpiness, which could hurt or scare your children. The thing is, the more high-energy your children are around the puppy, the more you can expect your pooch to display the same behavior. 

So try to teach your kids to stay calm so as not to encourage such wild behaviors from your dog. Also, remind your children not to pull on your puppy’s ears and tail or do hurtful things such as squeezing them tightly or poking them. When the puppy gets threatened or overwhelmed, it might bite or become scared of your children– ruining the bond that they’re starting to establish.

As much as you can, be around during their playtime so you can show your children the proper way to play together.

3. Teach your child to understand the body language of your puppy.

You can help your children establish a strong bond with your puppy by teaching them how to interpret the body language of your pooch. Explain to your children that dogs may not be able to talk, but they communicate with their eyes, ears, mouth, tail, fur, and overall posture.

Teach your children how dogs show different emotions such as excitement, fear or anxiety, and anger. Once they learn how to pick up on certain cues, they will know how to interact with your new puppy much better. They will know when it’s not a good time to touch or play with the puppy, and avoid issues from arising.

Similarly, you should make your children understand that their actions can elicit certain behaviors from the dog. For instance, running around and squealing can make the puppy chase them or even bite them unintentionally due to excitement.

4. Involve your child in your puppy training sessions.

Puppy training is not only a good chance for your children to play and interact with the new pet, but it also strengthens the trust and bond between your children and the puppy. Also, your puppy is not the only one that will benefit from dog training sessions. Dog training can also help sharpen your children’s memorization and problem solving skills. Plus, it will help them learn how to be more patient and compassionate.

Final Thoughts

Aside from preventing injuries and keeping your children safe when interacting with dogs, teaching them the right way to treat puppies will help them learn how to love and respect other living things. 

If you want to establish a strong bond between your children and your dogs, it’s important not only to teach your child, but also to train your puppy how to play with your child or other people without displaying aggressive or unwanted behaviors.

At Delaware K9 Academy, they offer puppy training, private classes, and 2-week bootcamps that will teach your dog important skills that will make the experience of being a dog owner much more rewarding. So if you want to learn more about your dog training options, visit today.