New Pets & New Kids
The other day I was hanging out at the Second Chance Humane Society shelter (ok, I live there right now but I am approaching it as temporary until I get adopted) and a potential adopter asked my staff “is she good with kids?” I would like to answer this on behalf of all dogs (and cats), depends on the kid...
Pets make great companions and teachers for children so it is important that such relationships be developed properly and safely. Not all children are comfortable around pets nor are all pets comfortable around children yet such friendships can lead to some of the most positive relationship and bonding experiences of their lives.
When a new pet is brought into the home it is critical that the family not overwhelm and over-stimulate the pet. Recognize that the pet is entering a whole new world which can be frightening and unsettling at first. Allow the pet ample space to adjust, as well as time to learn the routines of the household.
Establish regulations early, yet allow for some leniency in the beginning as the pet adjusts to the varying novelty of the rules. This does not mean that you should allow your new dog on the couch if the rules are “no dogs on the couch” but it does mean that patience and repetition should be applied in teaching the rule using immediate but gentle correction. Ultimately you want to build a trusting relationship where your pet looks to you for direction – out of respect and not fear.
Similarly there is a big adjustment period when a new person is brought into the household where pets reside. Whether it be a new baby or a visiting child it is important to allow household pets time and space to adjust. Do not force the introduction if the pet is hesitant – let them approach the baby or child when they are ready.
Always closely supervise pets and babies or children who are unfamiliar with one another. Speak calmly and reassuringly to the pet, communicating that the “intruder” is welcome and use lots of treats to reward your pet for appropriate behavior around the baby or child. Also I recommend that you do your best to maintain important routines of exercise and play with your pets to help with this transition.
My name is Juliet and I am a charming two year young Chihuahua that was abandoned. Although I am initially a little shy I quickly turn into a delightfully fun girl. I enjoy playing with other small dogs and am not afraid of the big dogs either. I am big on cuddling and will even abandon all dignity for more cuddles, including dancing about on my back legs while clapping my front paws. Works like a charm – people fall for it every time. PS…I do really like kids!
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.