Preparing Your Puppy to Meet Other People’s Children

Your nieces or nephews are coming into town, or your child has made a new friend that is scheduled to come over for a playdate. Whatever the circumstances may be, introducing a puppy to someone else’s children can be a little nerve-racking.

Of course, you want your pup and the other children to get along well, and you also want to ensure that everyone is safe and happy. However, without proper planning, there’s a chance that your puppy might misbehave, which could put a real damper on the visit.

Here are some tips that will make introducing your pet to other people’s children go off without a hitch.

Make Sure Everyone is Settled

Children have a lot of energy. Those energy levels are heightened when they’re in new and exciting situations; like visiting a home that they don’t frequent often, or meeting a new puppy. Dogs are highly intuitive and they are easily affected by other people’s emotions. That means that if a child is highly excitable, the puppy is going to be just as excited; and an excited child and puppy could be a disastrous combination.

Make sure that your pup is separated from the child until he or she is settled in. Keep him in his crate or confine him to another room. Greet the child and let them get acclimated to the setting. Once the visitor is settled in, his or her excitement will dwindle. When the child is less excited, the dog will be less excited and anxious, which will make for a smoother introduction.

Obedience Training is a Must

If your puppy is a jumper, yipper, nipper, or exhibits any other erratic behaviors (and he’s a puppy, so he probably will), make sure that you enroll him in obedience training. This will not only prove to be beneficial when he meet’s someone else’s child, but it will also benefit him – and you – in the long run.

By taking an obedience class, your puppy will learn what type of behaviors are appropriate and expected, and what actions are inappropriate and not tolerated; jumping, for example.

Let Your Pup Take His Time

Don’t push your puppy into a situation if he isn’t ready for it. For example, don’t offer to have Sally or Johnny pick up your little guy unless he seems like he is ready. If he seems comfortable and relaxed, then it’s likely that he’ll be fine if the child pets him; however, if he appears stand-offish, don’t push. It’s going to take him some time (and sniffing) to get adjusted to the scent of a new human.

Introduce Ground Rules

Your pet isn’t the only one that needs to be prepped for meeting a new child; the child also needs to be prepped for meeting your puppy. Make sure that you establish ground rules for meeting your puppy, and introduce those rules before you make the introduction. Ensure that the child firmly understands the rules so that he or she knows how to act. For instance, you might want to tell him that chasing the dog or throwing toys is off-limits unless you say it’s OK.

Your pup will trust the child more if he isn’t bombarded with pets, hugs, kisses, and tons of energy.

Have Plenty of Treats On-Hand

Dogs of all ages love treats; including puppies. They are great training tools, and can be very useful when introducing your pup to someone new. Ask the child to offer your pet treats, but in a mild manner; not with tons of energy and excitement. The child should also avoid being forceful; simply holding the treat out in the palm of his hand will entice the puppy to come and take it. Once he does, your puppy will start developing trust in the child.