Growing up with a pet can be an incredible experience for children. They learn responsibility and compassion, but also have a fun companion – someone to play with and tell secrets to. However, it is important for parents to create a safe environment so both children and animals are comfortable and do not feel threatened.
If you are thinking about introducing a pet to your family, make sure the timing is right and you’ll be available to socialize and train your new addition. You don’t want to adopt a dog and then leave for vacation a week later. Leave enough time for everyone to get to know one another and to establish some routines. Here are some other tips to keep in mind:
Consider adopting from a shelter. Puppies are cute and fun, but they also require a lot of time and energy. If this is your first pet, or you’re unsure how your children will respond, an adult or senior dog may be a good option. By adopting from a shelter, employees can often provide more information about the dog’s personality and behavior. You can choose a pet that is the right fit for your family. Plus, they’ve usually been in other homes, so they may be house-trained already.
Always supervise your children. Don’t leave young children alone with a dog, especially if it’s their first one. You want to be close by to show them how to safely interact with the dog, such as being gentle when petting, not taking toys away or teasing with food, and not acting loudly or aggressively. Children may not recognize signs that a dog feels threatened, and this can increase risk of accidents or bites to occur.
Be a positive role model. Children learn a lot by watching, so demonstrate safe, healthy ways to play with and care for your dog. Avoid yelling at or hitting your dog if they do something wrong; it’s important to remember that they’re still learning how they’re expected to behave and the routines that you want them to follow. Be patient and kind.
Create separate spaces. If your kids are full of energy and running around, your dog will often do the same. It can be a good idea to separate them from time to time and let things settle down. Put up a gate to keep young children away from the dog while it is eating or chewing on a bone, or have a crate where the dog can go if it just needs some personal space. If you’re having a party or people over, move your dog to a separate space so it doesn’t become overwhelmed or potentially get out.
Invest in training. Another way to keep everyone safer is to enroll your dog in obedience training. They will learn basic commands, and you will be more in control of different situations. Ensure that your children also understand expected behaviors from the dog and from themselves. It’s a learning experience for everybody.
With some basic rules and guidelines that everyone follows, you can create a safe, loving environment for your children and pets alike. If you’re going out of town, board your dog at Lake Wylie Pet Resort so you can have peace of mind that they’re being well taken care of, their needs are met, and they’re not wreaking havoc around your home while you’re gone. Plus, they can be groomed while they’re there too! Contact us today to schedule your dog’s stay.