a man holds a young child to introduce her to a puppy. The puppy is being held by a Blue Cross member of staff.

How to introduce your new puppy to your children for the first time

Children and dogs can be best friends for life, but first impressions count. Our tips will help get their relationship off to the best start!

The first meet will be really exciting for both, so talk to your son or daughter beforehand about how to welcome your puppy to the family. You can even turn this into a fun activity by getting your child to make them a welcome home card.

Your puppy will likely be very tired on arrival, so having a dedicated ‘quiet space’ just for them is a good idea. It’s important that while your puppy is in their quiet space, they are given space to relax and learn that they won’t be bothered. Puppies, just like children, need some quiet time and a chance to recuperate, especially after all the excitement of exploring a new home.

Once your puppy is rested and calm, or even starting to become inquisitive, sit down on the floor with your child, making sure they stay still and relaxed. Let the puppy come to them and encourage gentle strokes. Short bursts are a great way of making sure the first few days are full of positive interactions for pup and child.

Separating your puppy and child from each other should be seen as a positive thing, not a punishment. So use your puppy’s quiet space at certain times to suit your family lifestyle and routine, like when you’re eating or are unable to supervise your child and puppy.

Getting to know your puppy is really important, this will help you spot the signs that they may need a break, are getting over excited or becoming stressed.

Pre-empting situations which might overexcite your puppy and moving them to their ‘quiet space’ beforehand can help keep a happy household.

Read more expert advice on puppies and children here.

— Page last updated 12/07/2021

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