How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Toddler

by on October 21, 2011

in Dogs

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.

Image: Ashley Cox / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Judi, Senior Editor at PetsBlogs
Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi spent her time working in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions.
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rose October 22, 2011 at 8:19 pm

This is a great resource. Thanks!

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2 Puppy Man October 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Nice information. Introducing a new dog into your family’s life can definitely be exciting, but the proper steps must be taken to ensure everything goes smoothly.

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3 Karylle Lynch November 3, 2011 at 7:04 am

Very informative article! Thanks for sharing! I love dogs and they can get to authoritative sometimes that they don’t get to respect toddlers and kids but you are correct with proper discipline and patience, things will definitely work out well.

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