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DOG / new pets

How to Introduce Puppies and Young Children

Tips to make pet introductions go safely and smoothly


Safety first

Puppies and little kids can be a match made in cuteness heaven, but first, you’ll want to establish ground rules.

  • Make sure children understand that pets have feelings. Explain that hitting, squeezing, tugging or stepping on a pet is never OK.
  • Clarify that some behaviors are scary to puppies. Staring at or barking at a puppy may lead to nipping.
  • Keep children away from puppies while they’re eating.
  • Rehearse the meeting with a stuffed animal. Show kids how to gently handle and hold a puppy, and then let them practice.
  • When you make the real introduction, hold the puppy for the kids. Encourage them to gently present the back of their hand for the puppy to sniff. If the puppy seems ready, allow the kids to pet the pup softly.

This advice is based on an excerpt from The Bichon Frise, by Lexiann Grant. Copyright 2006 T.F.H. Productions.