Safe Guidelines for Puppies and Children

April 2018//Children and Puppies

“Please Mom, can we pleeeease get a puppy?” Sound familiar? If you’ve really thought it through and decided to add a puppy to your family, remember there’s more to it than simply picking out a cute pooch to bring home. Kids and puppies can be a great mix — under the right circumstances. Keep reading to learn to how to have a happy household for your children and your new pet.


Eight Simple Steps to Follow:

1) Encourage gentle stroking at all times – no pulling, grabbing, heaving patting or sitting on! No “rough housing” rather practice calm behaviors.

2) Because puppies need a lot of sleep, let your puppy sleep undisturbed. Being startled or woken regularly may begin to affect their behaviour and they may become irritable or defensive.

3) A good way to see if a puppy or dog would like to be pet ask them! Call them to you as opposed to approaching them. If they approach confidently, then this is there way of saying ‘yes’ and if they stay where they are, they are politely declining your invitation and you can try again later. This is a really simple exercise for children to practice (once they are old enough to understand your instruction) and it also enables your puppy or dog to have a choice in the matter as well.

4) If either your puppy or child is having one of those days (too excitable, or easily frustrated), then management is the key to avoiding accidents. Use your stair gate or dog crate and keep your puppy safely occupied with a tasty chew or stuffed Kong. When your baby, toddler is napping or at pre-school, take this opportunity to ensure your puppy’s needs are met by having some fun playing and training together.

5) It’s important to have a ‘safe’ area your puppy can retreat to, as dogs are social creatures they often choose to stay with their family even if they feel a bit overwhelmed. This is why crates are a great option, you can safely pop them in there so they are still near you yet don’t feel excluded. When your puppy is relaxing in the crate, do not distirb. The crate should be your pups safe zone. Under no circumstances should the puppy be bothered or teased while in the crate.

6) Make sure that your child doesn’t touch or walk into your puppy when they are eating or chewing. Although your child is unlikely to want to eat the chew, your puppy won’t know this and may feel worried and behave defensively.

7) When your child is old enough to get involved, show them how to play safely and help with training. Both your puppy or dog and child will enjoy this immensely and it’s a fantastic way of them interacting with each other and developing a bond, that doesn’t involve too much physical interaction.

8) Most important, always supervise. When your child and puppy are together, make sure you pay attention to what is happening at all times as you’ll want to intervene at the earliest opportunity should either look worried or you see that things are getting out of hand.


Signs that your puppy is feeling worried are:

>  Avoidance, moving away, hiding

>  Tail tucked under, looking away, appearing ‘smaller’

>  Lip licking, yawning (when not sleepy), paw raising

>  Growling, flashing teeth, snapping, biting


Equally if you see your child becoming frightened or annoyed by your puppy, intervene. Young children can easily become irritated by a puppy, especially if they try to play with their toys or walk all over a favourite puzzle! It’s much nicer and safer for both if you remove the puppy in these situations (and give them something else to do!) as this will ensure that their relationship stays on track.

Just like humans, some people we like and others we don’t. Do not expect your dog to like everyone they meet. Should your dog, for any reason become shy or uncomfortable with someone, direct eye contact can be seen, through your dogs eyes, as a threat and challenging. Should your dog become uncomfortable with someone, advise that guest to ignore your dog “no direct eye contact”, or worse yet, bend over with an extended had to try and reach out to the dog (which in your dogs mind is extremely threatening, regardless of good intentions).

Tell your guests to IGNORE the dog, when and “if” the dog is comfortable, it will approach the person. By not following these guidelines you are actually training your dog to be over-reactive which could develop into an aggression to strangers.


How to Speak Dog is a fun, informative, and photographically driven book that helps kids understand what their dog is trying to tell them through body language and behavior. Super-engaging dog photography, along with National Geographic Kids’ signature bold and bouncy design, helps illustrate the key canine concepts. Quick-hit tip boxes, fun facts about mankind’s best friends, and informative sidebars from the experts enliven the text. Readers young and old will respond to the irresistible call of the canine in this delightful book that will warm hearts and wag tails everywhere–a must-have in every home where pups are looking for love and understanding. Order Book Here


Videos to Watch

Canine behaviorist and author of the book “Dog-Friendly Dog Training”, Andrea Arden offers some tips on ways to allow your pet to adjust to life with a new child in the family. Watch Video


Does your puppy really want to be petted? Lots of dogs tolerate being petted but don’t really enjoy it. Learn to read dogs’ body language signals and do a simple test to see if your dog really enjoys petting, or is just putting up with it. Watch Video


This video shows kids how to stay safe around dogs. Watch Video