Kids Safety 101
A little girl cuddles with a dog in front of a Christmas tree

Read This Before Introducing Your Child to a New Dog

Are you thinking about gifting your child with a puppy this Christmas? Before you let your child “unwrap” their gift, it’s important that you take safety precautions when introducing them. It’s also vital to set rules and boundaries for both the pet and your child.

Children screaming with glee for the holidays may be just what you want, but that can scare a dog or puppy, causing them to react with unwanted behavior.

The Introduction

First, make sure your child or children have calmed down from all of the excitement of their new dog. Keep the child a safe distance from the dog and have them calmly approach from the side. Once your child is close to the dog, have them stop and allow the animal to come willingly to your child.

Tell your child to curl their fingers in the palm of their hand and do not allow them to push their hand into the dog’s face. Let the dog smell the child, and ensure that the dog is reacting calmly before allowing your child to pet them.

It is also a good idea that you hold your dog on a leash to make sure they are under your control in the event they react negatively. Do not use treats or toys on the first greeting. Dogs can become excited at the idea of getting a gift themselves, and it could cause them to jump on the child or take the toy or treat aggressively, causing injury.

After the Greeting

Even if the meeting goes perfectly, you need to keep a close eye on kids and dogs at all times. Sudden movements, loud noises, and other stimuli can cause dogs to bite or chase children. Instruct your children to never startle the dog or approach them while they are sleeping.

They should also be taught to never pull on their fur or any part of their body. Do not allow smaller children to pick up and carry dogs, even if the dog is small. If they fall, or accidentally squeeze in a way the dog does not like, there could be consequences. Once you have taught your child how to properly handle and approach a dog, you will still need to monitor them when they are in close proximity.

For more tips on family safety in regard to dogs, read our article Teaching Mutual Respect Around Dogs.

Grace Wells

Grace Wells grew up in the kind of town where no one locked their doors and parents felt safe letting their kids wander. Things have changed a lot since then. As a mother today, Grace has to worry about so much more than skinned knees and hurt feelings.

Grace believes the best way to keep kids safe is to stay informed. She hopes that her work at Kids Safety 101 makes a difference in children’s lives so that they can grow up as carefree as she did.

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