Your New Puppy & Young Children

Young children will be incredibly excited at the prospect of bringing home a new puppy. Your job is to help your child remain calm and help the introduction between puppy and child be a wonderful experience for both.

For Your Child

tip Let your child know that the new puppy will be scared and nervous.

tip Explain that the puppy will need some space so he doesn’t get too frightened.

tip Teach your children to speak in a calm voice to the puppy, avoiding yelling and shouting.

tip Teach your children that roughhousing around the puppy is forbidden. Do not let your child drag, pull, wrestle, hit, or poke the puppy, even in a playful way. No grabbing of the puppy, running around the puppy at first, playing tug of war with the puppy, etc.

tip Make it a family rule that any sibling fights must be out of the puppy’s sight.

tip Teach your child to respect the puppy, and vice versa. Your child should learn how to properly treat the dog, which will then earn him the respect and leadership from your puppy.

tip No squeezing. Hugging the puppy too tight can result in injury.

tip Always be there to supervise playtime so you can intervene if things get out of hand.

tip Be consistent. Your child needs to understand that commands that the family teaches the puppy are firm (no sneaking treats to the puppy!) If the puppy doesn’t obey the command, the child should gently repeat the command until the puppy does what he is told to do.

For Your New Puppy

tip No herding. Don’t let your new puppy herd your child (this is especially important with herding breeds like border collies and Australian cattle dogs). Doing so will make the dog think that he is in charge and he will not obey your child’s commands.

tip Listen to all members of the family; the rules are consistent. Puppies learn through repetition so it’s important for the puppy to see a consistency in your house, even from its youngest members.

tip No jumping on the child.

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About Paris Permenter

Paris Permenter is the founder and co-publisher of LT Media Group LLC. Along with her husband, John Bigley, she edits,, and has authored over 30 books on pets and travel.