One of the most common reasons dogs get sent to shelters or put down is because they growl, bark, or bite at children. This is not always the fault of the dog. In fact, most of the time the reaction is a direct result of improper pet etiquette. By teaching your child how to interact with dogs, you can avoid negative tension and aggression in your household that may cause you to rehome your furry friend. Here are some tips for teaching your children about dog owner etiquette.
Expose Your Puppy to New Things Every Day
To a puppy, the world is crazy, expansive, and completely fascinating. Try to expose your puppy to something new every single day. You may change the path you take to walk your puppy, or you may let him explore a new area of the house. Bring out random objects from the closet that your puppy can sniff, investigate, and explore. Umbrellas, overturned chairs, traffic cones, and balloons can all be used as training tools to help your puppy grow. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box as long as your puppy stays safe.
Let Your Puppy Play with Other Puppies
Puppies learn a number of traits by interacting with one another. The most important one is bite strength. When puppies play fight, they learn how hard they can bite someone or something before hurting it. If your puppy was part of a large litter, you may contact the other adopters to arrange a puppy playdate. Your local pet store may host a weekly or monthly playdate for puppies that you can sign up for. The more interaction your puppy can get, the better.
Important Health Notice: It is vital that you get your puppy set up with his shots before taking him to any puppy playdates. Once they are removed from their mothers, puppies do not have a strong enough immune system to fight off diseases on their own. Shots are designed to supplement the immune system until the puppy is 3-4 months of age. Make sure your puppy has been thoroughly examined and protected before allowing him to interact with other puppies.
Show Your Timid Puppy That New Things Are Safe
If you have a shy or timid puppy who is hesitant to go near new objects, you may need to show him that there is nothing to worry about. Start by letting the puppy near the object and see if he is able to explore it on his own. If he cowers behind your legs, comfort him and then slowly bring him closer to the object. Touch the object while petting your dog until he feels comfortable enough to go to it on his own. Reward him for his confidence with a training treat.
Teach Your Puppy to Be Independent
It’s natural for a puppy to latch onto his owner after being separated from his mother. While you may be tempted to coddle and cuddle with your furry new playmate, it’s important to teach your puppy that he can play and sleep without you by his side. Give him time to play on his own throughout the day, and avoid constantly having your puppy in your lap. You can combine these efforts with crate training until your puppy becomes the confident, happy dog he’s meant to be.