There are thousands of reasons why pets, or puppies, benefit babies. However, you must carefully prepare and do many things like training babies and puppies to interact with each other, cleaning pet hair off your living space, and so on.
A common question: “Will my baby and my dog play with each other without an accident?” My answer is definitely yes.
Dogs can be our best friends, but you still need to do lots of training before you combine babies and puppies.
What is the appropriate age to introduce babies and puppies?
The first question you need to consider is your puppy’s age. Never expect to pair a 3-month-old dog as your baby’s close friend. Instead, the puppy should be at least six months old because, at that stage, they have finished teething, which reduces your infant’s risk for unexpected injury.
You also should consider your child’s age. Is your baby mature enough to understand and follow the rules? Don’t get attached to having your child and puppy grow up together, putting both in danger.
Basic puppy training
Before introducing puppies and babies, make sure the puppy is well-mannered. Make sure your puppy responds to basic commands and has the following list of skills before you introduce the puppy to your baby:
- Ensure your puppy responds to your cues and sits or lies on the floor on command.
- Be sure your puppy knows the baby’s equipment and toys are off-limits.
- Get your dog used to everyday baby noises, including crying.
- Familiarize your puppy with your baby’s scent. I advise applying baby lotion to the car seat, baby carrier, and other items.
- Familiarize your puppy with all family members and the babysitter.
Teach your baby to respect your puppy
Besides training your dog, teach your child to be calm and well-behaved rather than violent or aggressive.
- Teach your baby not to poke the puppy or pull its ears and tail
- Teach your baby to approach the dog slowly, not too quickly. Children are easily excited and will run toward animals, which can frighten your puppy.
- Teach your baby to leave your puppy alone when she’s sleeping.
- Spend quiet time reading together! Dogs, in general, are non-judgmental and excellent listeners, which could help inspire your puppy to behave the same way.
Other notes for parents
Besides those tips, consider the following factors:
- Prevent your baby from making face-to-face contact with the puppy.
- Never let your baby play with a dog without adult supervision. Dogs are more likely to attack if they feel threatened or view small children as prey.
- Spend at least 10 minutes per day on dog training.
- Make sure your dog has their place with special toys.
- Keep your home clean and keep baby hair off your baby’s toys, bed, clothes, and other items to reduce the risk of an asthma attack.
- Consult a professional if your puppy behaves strangely or aggressively.
Final thoughts on babies and puppies
Pairing babies and puppies early provide many benefits for children.
Not only do they learn compassion and responsibility, but exposure to dogs also reduces the risk of allergies and obesity.
Just do it carefully and cautiously to ensure the experience is good for both, and you’ll build a lifelong bond.
Tina Bray created Thedoghere.com to share everything you need to know about dogs. Visit her blog for more tips. She’s pictured with her dog Pip.