A new family dog is a welcome addition and can be a great source of family fun. However, both dogs and kids need to know how to respect each other with boundaries, hierarchy, and equal love and care. This can be an ongoing process, so here are a few tips to get you started.
Make Sure the Dog Obeys Commands
It can be dangerous to introduce a dog without knowing what it understands. Dogs are very curious creatures and will get excited when meeting new people, especially children. Yet, if a new dog is a little unruly, it can accidentally cause an injury. For certain breeds, such as Labradors, visit this website for more info. They are naturally more intelligent and can learn basic commands quickly. All it takes is a little time and patience to teach a dog new tricks.
A New Family Dog Needs Boundaries
It wonâ€™t help to give your dog a free roam of the house because it can begin to believe that this is their territory. You canâ€™t blame a territorial animal for behaving this way. But you can help it establish boundaries so it knows where it can and cannot go. Fortunately, most dogs quickly learn this. And areas such as the babyâ€™s nursery should always be out of blinds for the doggies. This way, the dog knows that it cannot go there, and you have peace of mind about safety.
Let the Dog Smell Baby Toys
Unlike humans, who use sight and sound as their main senses, dogs use their nose, which is between 1,000 and 10,000 times more powerful, depending on the breed. Because of this, dogs become familiar with scent and will learn what is theirs and what is not. You can establish boundaries between things like toys and blankets by allowing the dog to sniff baby blankets and toys so they know that they are not for them and belong to someone else in your family home.
Get them Familiar with the Kidsâ€™ Scent
Humans all have a unique scent, and your kids are no different. Therefore, it can help to familiarize your kids with the dog through scent. This can be especially important for babies so the dog doesnâ€™t see them as an intruder in the home or as a territorial threat. You can begin with toys and blankets, as mentioned. But these will also smell like the materials they are made of. So it can help to allow your dog to sniff the babyâ€™s feet when you first bring them home.
Establish the Pecking Order
Dogs are hierarchical by nature. This means they have a chain of command that is respected, usually starting with an â€œalphaâ€ leader. But it is vital that your dog always sees humans in the household as the alphas or territory problems can begin. You can try the following to do this:
Meet the basic needs of the dog
First, meet your dogâ€™s needs. A dog that is being well cared for with food, water, exercise, and compassion has no reason to assert its dominance. A well-loved dog will be more than happy to submit itself to you. This is when it will begin to see you as a caregiver and submit itself.
Look for signs of submission and act on them
When a dog submits, like Carlos the dog, they are like putty in your hands and become more obedient, not as territorial, and generally safer to be around. Common signs to look for include exposing their tummy, raising a paw, and lying down when in your presence. Greet them for this.
Treat the dog as an equal
Problems can arise when a dog doesnâ€™t view you as an equal challenge. This can lead to aggression and disobedience. No matter the size or age of the dog, always look them in the eye when giving a command and do so with a stern and confident voice, and maintain eye contact.
Your dog needs to know that they arenâ€™t the dominant one in the home, or they could begin to see anyone who enters, including you and your family, as a threat. Fortunately, itâ€™s easy to remedy this by looking after the dog, staying firm in your resolve, and reacting to submission.
Ensure the Dog Doesnâ€™t Get Jealous
It is believed that dogs have the mind of a toddler. And like toddlers, they need care and attention. If these needs arenâ€™t met, a dog could begin to get jealous of your children. Because of this, you must include the dog in things and provide enough love for its needs. However, you must take care to do this when the children are around and awake and not when they are asleep. Otherwise, the dog will begin to expect this whenever the children are not around.
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Keep It On a Leash for Safety
Before a dog really gets used to your kids, it can be unpredictable. Eventually, it will be safe to have the dog around if you treat it well. But it can help to keep them on a leash at first. This is especially important when bringing home a newborn, as the dog will tend to lick or even bite a baby, even if it isnâ€™t intended as aggression and is more of a curiosity. However, allow the dog some freedom by slacking off the leash so it can freely sniff the baby, children, and their things.
Teach Kids About the New Family Dog
The dog can only do so much, and most dogs are perfectly fine to be around children. Yet children are just as unpredictable as the dog. So it is in everyoneâ€™s best interests to teach the kids how to behave with the dog. For example, they need to know that a dog is not a toy and that it is a living, breathing animal. So no disturbing the dog when itâ€™s sleeping, no going near its food, and, of course, no pulling of the dogâ€™s tail. Over time, both can learn to grow up together.
Learn About Your New Pet
You have many responsibilities as a dog owner. And every breed is different. So there is no blanket approach to looking after a dog, despite the common misconceptions. For example, some breeds require tons of exercise, others need lots of grooming, and some are more susceptible to certain dog illnesses. Therefore, it is better to buy a book or read online info about your dogâ€™s specific breed unless, of course, you have a mongrel type of dog.
Ensuring that your furry friend understands basic commands helps when introducing the new family dog to kids and babies. It also helps to establish a hierarchy in the household, and you must take time to learn about your particular breed of dog to look after it the correct way.
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