by Liz Demcsak
As any parent will tell you, raising a child isn’t meant to be easy, and it’s something that takes a lot of work, patience, and love to get right. The same can be said for bringing a dog into your family, so when you’re trying to do both at the same time, it can turn into quite the challenge. Introducing a new dog to your toddler requires a bit of dedication to make sure things run smoothly, but if you’re willing to put in the work, your toddler and your new dog will make fast friends.
The decision to bring a dog into your home should never be made lightly, but this goes double when there’s a curious toddler bumping around the place. So when choosing a new dog, make sure you take this into account. The two main things to consider are the size and temperament of your new pup. Generally speaking, the bigger the dog is, the more difficult it will be to manage him around your child. Large dogs can often knock your toddler around without even realizing it, so it may be best to stick with a small- or medium-sized dog for your toddler to co-exist with. On a similar note, you also should choose a pup that doesn’t get too excited or aggressive. Ideally, you want a calmer, less nippy pup that your toddler will be able to live with peacefully.
Assuming you’ve picked out your new dog, there are a couple of preparatory steps you need to take before introducing him to your toddler. First off, you need to make sure your house is puppy-proofed before you bring your new canine home. This means clearing your house of any sharp edges or dangerous “edibles” hanging around. After you’ve brought your new pup into your puppy-proofed home, let him get used to his surroundings for a few days before introducing him to your child. Your dog will automatically be excited and nervous about his new home, so let him burn off a bit of steam before introducing a curious toddler into the situation.
When you actually introduce your new dog to your toddler, be sure to keep a close eye on both of them. Both your toddler and your new dog will likely be overstimulated on meeting a new friend, but this isn’t always a good thing. Make sure to pay attention to your pup’s body language — if he appears overly nervous or tense, it might be a good idea to separate the two of them until later. Remember: it’s going to take a while for them to be comfortable with one another. For the first few weeks, be sure to stay in the same room when your toddler and dog are together.
Make sure to discourage any poor behavior on the part of your new dog. In the even that your new dog misbehaves by jumping on, scratching, or nipping at your child, don’t be afraid to discipline him. These are the kinds of problems that need to be ferreted out early if everyone’s going to get along. But it takes time! With enough love and patience, you, your toddler, and your new pup will eventually get along swimmingly.
This article is brought to you from Liz at WetNoseGuide.com a dog care directory, which lists dog businesses throughout the country.