Having a puppy in our family is something very special. It is a new experience that gives way to a new and important learning stage for everyone, both for the puppy and for the children and adults of the house. We must know that the puppy has different needs than the rest of the family. This is vital for the correct education and socialization of our dog, which another member of the family.
Puppy training is the responsibility of adults as it will greatly influence the behavior of the dog throughout its life. It is very important that the puppy has a good training. Their lack of knowledge is why children should not train, correct, or punish dogs. It is the duty of the adults, because there is a high probability that the little ones will do it wrong and that will affect forever the relationship of the dog with the world around him. In the event that the adults of the house do not have experience in how to educate a puppy, we recommend that a course be taken where the whole family participates, in order to be guided by a professional dog trainer and not make mistakes in this important stage for the puppy.
Although certain needs of dogs can be delegated to children (depending on age), such as feeding them, taking them out for a walk, brushing them, etc., the dog's stay in the family should never be conditioned by children carrying out your responsibilities.
Children can and should participate in the puppy's day-to-day life and ask for tricks or play with it, but children's interaction with the puppy should always be under the supervision of an adult. The simple fact that children play with the dog must be done with adult control since the dog must learn to play correctly without biting. Puppies go through a change in their teeth that lasts until approximately they are 6 months of age. This causes a lot of discomfort that they usually alleviate through bitting, that we must train them to do with their rubber toys and never allow the dog to bite what we do not want them to bite as an adult.
Children should not remove toys from the dog's mouth. That can only be done by adults if they know the dog and know how it will react. Many dogs try to hold the toy and wanting to secure it in their mouth, could harm children. As something the dog does without bad intention, could scare the child and in the long term could create a fear of dogs. It is very easy to avoid by simply supervising the child's play with the dog. Nor should we allow the child to play by throwing himself to the ground and letting the dog get on top of him. This position adopted by the child transmits submission to the dog, and could create confusion about its role in the hierarchy of the house.
When children effusively pet dogs, they do so with all the love in the world, but certain movements can scare or overwhelm the puppy and we must be there to avoid it and make the child understand that the puppy is not a stuffed animal or toy. We have to work on that relationship from the beginning so that they are both very comfortable, otherwise the moment may come when the puppy does not want to be with the child or vice versa.
Children love to explore and discover new things, that includes experimenting with the puppy that has just arrived in the family. Our mission as adults is to get children to play or pet the dog only if it is to be done in a calm and fun way or if it is to play in a controlled way.
Keep in mind that if the puppy is crying, children nor adults should pet it, as it could encourage such behavior. Otherwise, if the dog is very excited we should not pet him either so that he does not relate the excitement as something positive. The positive enforcement must be related to calm, relaxed behaviour and controlled play.
We will not let children play "fighting" or growling with the puppy as this type of behavior reinforces certain aspects that are not desirable in an adult dog. Remember that the best punishment is that which we do not have to apply, therefore we will try not to encourage games that we know will develop behaviors in the puppy such as biting our hands, pants or other objects such as shoes.
Biting behavior is normal behavior, but we must train it, that is, we will never allow it to develop on our hands or on any other part of the body. If it occurs, the adult must give a sharp voice saying "NO!" and make the child stop the game in such a way that the behavior stops and at the same moment that it stops we will caress the puppy and reward her by resuming the game or offering a toy to redirect their need to bite. It is important that all family members follow the same guidelines and that when a standard is established it is always carried out, there should be no exceptions as this confuses the dog.
Also, stretching games of a toy, rag or rope are not desirable, since it can encourage the dog to fight against the will of its owner (which would be to keep the toy), this is contrary to what we expect, in this sense, of a dog: to want to please us and respect us.
Educatively, the best game would be to throw the toy and the puppy to go fetch it, since we will be teaching positive values, such as paying attention, do good by bringing us the toy and that he obeys us when we ask him to release the toy. Another interesting game is hide and seek, as the dog learns not to lose sight of the owner and listen for its name.
Another important point is to teach children that when the puppy is resting nothing and nobody should disturb it. Preventing the puppy's rest causes great stress and anxiety in dogs.