Some tips for introducing a new dog into your family. Thanks to Genisis Dog food. Now available at Brontosaurus Pet store!
Introducing a new pet to your family is such a wonderful and exciting prospect. But before you get carried away with any 4-legged additions to the family, there are a few things you should consider, just to make sure the reality of a new pet meets your expectations.
First, take some time to research and discover what would be the right breed and age of dog to suit your family. When considering breeds it’s important to consider the physical size and environment of your family and to match what your family life would offer to your new dog. After all, a family of 3 children, living in an apartment in the middle of the city has a very different life to a single teenager child living on a large family farm with their parents. So do some reading on the genetic and personality traits of breeds to make sure they match your family’s inherent lifestyle.
The age of your pet is also important. If you’re considering an older dog, make sure it is familiar, tolerant and friendly with children before you say, “Yes, this is the dog for our family.” Mature dogs that have already lived through their puppy socialising period of their life (generally the first 6 months of life) and are not used to children are likely to respond in a fearful or protection manner, especially at mealtimes and when the dog is playing with a toy. Similarly, if you choose a puppy, make sure that it is young enough to be socialised with children and/or it has had positive experiences with children already in its life.
The second step is to prepare your children for the new pet, the importance of pet ownership and to make your children aware of the ‘Pet Rules’ below.
Supervision: Make sure an adult is ALWAYS supervising when your children (or any child!) are in the company of your new dog. This is critical at all times, but especially so at feeding time or if your pet has a toy.
Handling: Take the time to teach your children how to respect and handle the new dog, reminding then consistently that pets are not toys, and that they can feel pain if they’re roughly handled. It is equally important to make sure your new pet gets use to and accepting of the children interacting and playing/touching them.
Familiarity & Bonding: Play with your children and the new dog and encourage them to take part in activities with dogs that are appropriate to the child’s age. This allows them to bond under supervision and also to learn about each other and develop together. These activities must be age appropriate. For example, a four-year-old child cannot be solely responsible for a dog during a walk, but can help such as getting the dog’s leash and plastic bags (for you know what!) before you go for a walk together. Older children should be encouraged to help with obedience activities, such as sitting and coming when called. These activities help teach your dog that children are higher in the social hierarchy than dogs are.
Remember a new pet is a special time but must be responsibly managed for the safety and enjoyment of all. A dog companion can help build confidence, happiness and friendships for all your family, so make the investment up front in terms of preparation, time allocation & personal commitment to the process and make sure it is a success.
– Dr Al, The Pet Vet from the Genesis Website