moshehar (CC0), Pixabay
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When you adopt a new dog, you are adopting a new member of the family. It is important to consider all of the family members in your existing household. Children need to be taken into account when thinking about adding a dog to the house.

If you are adopting from a shelter most dogs are screened. The shelter should be able to tell you if the dog should be in a single home with no children or a home with older children.

If you are adopting a puppy you may have to train them to appropriately act around your children. Getting a new dog is exciting and you will probably feel a variety of emotions when thinking about bringing your new furry friend home. Children who are old enough to understand what is happening are usually excited and ready to shower the puppy or dog with hugs and kisses!

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The Introduction: How to Introduce your Children to a Dog

When you are bringing your new puppy or dog home you are exposing your child to a new animal and your dog to a child. There are always safety concerns to think about during the first introduction and the adjustment period. There are risks to the child from the dog that should be taken account for such as:

  • Biting
  • Fleas/Ticks
  • Intestinal Bacteria

There are also risks from the child to the dog, these risks include:

  • Increased anxiety from a new environment and a hands-on child
  • Chasing, poking, jumping, hugging the dog
  • The Children giving the dog inappropriate treats or food items
  • Small Breeds are more vulnerable to injury from being knocked over and stepped on

When you have decided on the perfect dog for your family an introduction plan should be created. When preparing for the big introduction talk to your children about the new dog and the importance of being gentle and cautious around the dog, as not to scare it. It is important that children understand that a dog coming into a new home may be nervous and scared.

A child might not understand a dog’s body language, teaching them simple things the dog might do. Teach your child to recognize simple dog ques such as, growling, pushing ears back, and barking. Helping your child recognize these ques will help them step back and away from the dog when it is feeling threatened and scared.

When the first introduction happens there are a few things to do that can ensure a happy and successful meeting. One of the simplest things you can do is to make sure that your kids don’t have food on them (or holding food). Make sure there are responsible adults or much older (late teens) in the room for the introduction, and make sure not to overwhelm the dog with multiple children.

The Introduction: How to Introduce your Dog to Children

When adopting a dog one of the best ways to help ensure that a dog is friendly with children is by introducing them prior to taking the dog home. Including the children in the adoption process is both helpful and healthy. This helps begin the bonding process and the adaptation process.

Bringing a dog into the house is a change in dynamic, it is important that everyone feels comfortable. Regardless if the children were a part of the process there are a few things to keep in mind when taking your new dog home. These are some of the ways to introduce a dog to children:

  • Avoid Directly Feeding the Dog
  • Gentle “Que’s”
  • Create an activity such as a walk
  • Keep a leash close
  • Be neutral
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Cathy D. Evans
Life-long fan of all dogs including Finnegan pictured here. He's a Chinook about a year old with the most wonderful personality. Please enjoy this dog website and its content. “Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human.” —Cesar Millan (dog trainer)

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