Strategies for Introducing Your Child to their First Pet - Bully Sticks Central

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened,” wrote French poet, Anatole France, highlighting the value and meaning that pets can add to the lives of people of all ages. If you have kids, and you are excited about bringing their first pet home, it is important to lay the groundwork so that the transition is smooth—both for your pet and your children. Keep the following tips in mind so that your kids and new pet become instant BFFs.

Involving Your Children in Making Your Home Pet-Friendly

A new pet needs love, care, and a few creature comforts to ensure they can rest, play, and interact with their human companions. In the weeks or days leading up to bringing your pet home, ask your kids to help you purchase key items such as a bed, a scratching post (for cats), toys, bowls, paw balm, and winter clothing (if you live in a cold area). If you are in the process of purchasing new furniture for your home, choose sofas and chairs in pet friendly fabrics like microfiber, cotton, or nylon. If you have leather seating, you won’t necessarily need to replace it, so long as your pet’s nails are well-trimmed. If you plan on snuggling with Fido or Tabitha on your sofa and chairs, investing in sturdy materials can be considered a wise investment.

Choosing Snacks

Explain to your kids that dogs need to eat healthily, just like humans do. Get kids excited about helping you choose your pet’s food and snacks. Kids will have fun selecting from the wide array of snack choices provided by Bully Sticks Central. These range from cow ears to flat sticks, braided sticks, knotted trip twist bones and more. These snacks can play an important role when you and your kids start training your pet to walk on a lead, behave calmly when guests arrive or come to you when you call them. 

Role-Playing and Responsibilities

If your children are toddlers or aged under about eight, role-playing with a stuffed toy is vital when it comes to teaching them how to pick up and caress their pet. Show children that pulling tails and ears are a no-no, explaining that these actions are painful and potentially dangerous. During your role-playing sessions, teach them how to fill their pet’s bowl with water and food, and how to help tidy if a pet spills food or water. Kids should also be encouraged to accept specific responsibilities (for instance, filling a pet’s bowl with water, going with you to take your dog for a walk, or brushing your pet) so that they truly feel bonded with their furry friend.

The Big Moment

Let your kids know that when your pet actually arrives, it should be given time and space to get used to its surroundings. Instead of heading towards the pet, children should be asked to sit and wait until the pet gets curious and approaches them. Teach them to turn to their side and avoid eye contact initially, so that a new pup feels more comfortable about approaching them and sniffing their hand or leg. Let them know when it is okay to caress their new buddy, teaching them how to do so gently.

Bringing a new pet home is one of the most exciting times in a child’s life. Make it a meaningful moment by boosting kids’ confidence. Invite them to choose toys, food, and clothing for your pet. Explain the basics of pet body language. Prioritize being gentle with their pet and waiting until the pet is ready to bond with their humans.

This post was last updated at June 6, 2023 10:29

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