It's true, training a new puppy requires a lot of work on your part. But the results are worth it. For your efforts, you will have a nice family pet you can enjoy being around for years to come. A common problem that can set you back with the training is other family members, specifically your kids. Not only do you need to train your puppy, you need to train your kids how to treat the puppy.
Here are some conversations you may have with your young children, adjusting for your child's age and personality.
- Before our puppy came to live at our house, she lived with her mommy and brothers and sisters. Can you imagine having lots of brothers and sisters, all the same age as you? They played lots; fun games like chase and jumping on each other.
Those are the only games our puppy knows how to play right now, until we teach her new games. She thinks you are her brother, so she's going to chase you if you run, and she's going to pounce on you, because that's what she does with her brothers and sisters. If you don't want her to chase you and jump on you, don't run and don't roll around on the ground like a puppy.
- Do you know how, when you get up from a nap, you don't want to run around and play - you want to snuggle in mommy's lap for a while? Well, that's how the puppy is. She needs time to snuggle on your lap or on her mat until she feels like playing. Let her come to you when she's ready.
- Would you be scared if a big kid yelled really loud at you? You are much bigger than our puppy, and when you yell at her, she gets scared. Puppies have feelings. They get sad and happy just like you.
- Our puppy is little and cute, but she's not the same thing as a doll. You can drop your dolls and toys, or hold them upside down and it doesn't hurt them. Puppies are like kids - they don't like to be picked up by their feet or carried upside down.
- Sometimes you like to play dogs with your sister, right? When you're the dog, you like it if your sister pets you softly and says nice things to you. If she hit you on the head, poked at you, or pulled your tail (if you had one), you might tell her to knock it off, huh? Our puppy can't talk, so she'll growl or snap at you to tell you to stop.
When training a new puppy and your kids, remember to carefully monitor their interactions so you can correct any misbehaviors. Kids can better understand how to treat a dog when you talk to them in language they understand.