Bringing home a new pet is a big deal. Watching them interact with our babies fills our hearts with so much love! And while your family’s life is about to change in the best way, challenges await. Introducing a new pet to the family is a big deal because it sets the relationship between your family and the pet.
I’m going to get very real for a second in hopes I prevent bad things from happening.
Puppies and kittens grow up to be adults. If you don’t see them as adding another family member into your home and raising another child, don’t put them through it. They take a lot of work and getting one just for your child so they learn responsibility is going to be a big fail.
Get a pet because the adults want one and are planning on putting in the work, not the children.
The top reason pets end up in the shelter is for behavioral problems. After those first couple weeks go by with the new pet at home, the newness wears off and we kind of give up on them. We put food and water down and work on potty training, but that’s the routine we end up with.
We don’t give them the continuous attention they need to learn what behavior we expect out of them. Then when they’re about 8 months old it’s not working out anymore, because- well.. the communication wasn’t there.
I’m here to help with that communication barrier.
From a dog or cat’s perspective-
Children are scary!
They’re unpredictable. And loud. These kids are touchy and they pull hair.
That is not fun for cats nor dogs. We must teach our children at a young age to respect animals and their space.
No grabbing, smacking, pulling hair. No biting, kicking or pulling tails. Also, no sitting, laying, or riding on them. We want the pet to feel safe. When introducing a new pet teach children to keep their distance until the pet comes to them and learns to trust them.
We want to give the pet a safe place of their own. A place where children aren’t allowed to go to give the pet their own space. This can be a crate that you don’t allow your children to touch or a room with access for the pet to get into, but the kids can’t.
This can be a baby gate up with enough room for just the pet to get underneath it or a doggie door built into the door. We have a baby gate with a doggy door built in for our cats. They can get in to use the litter box and I don’t have to worry about my little man getting into them. Mom Win!
Cues to look for
-ears pinned back
-yawning or panting excessively
-straining around the mouth
-pet seems uncomfortable or they look like they’re about to run and hide
-complete attention on a specific thing
If you’ve ever heard of the fight or flight response, it works the same way with animals.
Generally, pets will defend themselves if they are uncomfortable and scared, rather than running. This usually leads to biting or scratching and instead of seeing what happened to cause it, people automatically put the pet at fault.
Thus, seeing the situation as an animal hurting our children and the only result is to find them a new home. 🙁
We can redirect this behavior by giving them a safe place to run to get out of the situation they don’t like.
Communication among children and pets can create an unbreakable bond. As we teach our children to respect animals, we also need to teach the animals to respect our children.
As puppies go through a mouthing stage where they want to chew on things, we must direct their behavior to what is acceptable and what isn’t.
When we catch them chewing on things we don’t want them to, give a firm “NO” while clapping or doing something to break their attention. Then replace their attention with something that is acceptable to chew on, like a toy or rawhide. Kong is a great toy brand that have toys at different strengths so they don’t tear up if your dog is a big chewer.
Children can learn to say “NO” too, so they know how to respond if the pet does something they’re not okay with.
When playing with pets, don’t play with just your hands. When we use just our hands to play with our pets, they see them as toys and that it is acceptable to put their mouths on them.
This can get out of hand- ha! Pun intended- if they get carried away playing with your littles. It may lead to some unintentional biting, because they think they’re just playing.
Introducing a new pet into your family is a big deal. You’re inviting in a new family member. Just like we had to learn to communicate with our children, we must learn how to communicate with our new pet. Have fun and enjoy your new pet!
Don’t forget to check out my other post on How To Potty Train Your Puppy! Let’s continue making the best situation with our pets. Do you have other issues in your home? I would love to hear from you and see if we can come up with a solution!
You may also be interested in
- Everything You Need For A New Puppy
- Pet Names to Avoid
- Absolute Must-Read Books For Dog Lovers
- Eliminating Stains and Odors
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