Bringing a puppy home to live with and be a part of your family is a very exciting decision. It’s easy to get so excited that you don’t think about every logistic prior to the arrival of your new pup. If you have children, you have probably been showing them photos of little puppies online for weeks leading up to the big day, and you want make sure you get organized before getting swept away.
Regardless of breed, puppies are always very high maintenance. As a parent, you don’t want to be the sole caretaker of the new puppy. The kids should help out. You want to avoid paving the road for a lot of frustration in the future. The children will probably enjoy being partial parents to the puppy. But they will need your help to learn how to properly take care of the dog.
Here are 5 ways to help prepare your children for the arrival of a puppy:
- Organize a schedule.
A puppy will require a lot of attention in general, but there are two things you can pretty much count on in a schedule: food in, food out. The dog will have regular meals, and will need to go to the bathroom throughout the day. The puppy should be fed probably once in the morning and once in the evening, and possibly twice in between. This is something that can be delegated to one or more of the children. Puppies should be taken outside to do their business every two hours at first. At such a young age, they aren’t house trained at all, and by neglecting to take them out every two hours, you are risking having a lot of mess to clean up.
- Agree on vocabulary for the new dog.
When the puppy has first arrived and needs to be trained, it’s important to be consistent in the ways the dog is trained. If the dog is jumping on someone and needs to be told to stop, it’s good to have one word that generally means “stop” that everyone uses. That way the dog won’t get confused about what is expected of it.
- Have a family meeting to go over everything right before you pick the dog up (or the day before).
With the excitement and bustle of finally bringing home the new puppy, it’s easy to forget what has been decided for care. Sitting down with your family for even just a few minutes before the big event can help start things off smoothly. You don’t want to overwhelm the puppy (or yourself) on day one, so it’s good to be prepared so you can make fluid adjustments and enjoy all of the fun.
- Be consistent with rules.
You want your family to all be on the same page with taking care of the dog. It is important to draw the line in the sand at the very beginning. For example, if the dog is going to always ride in the back seat in a crate, then this routine should be started as early as possible. If you lay down the rules right away, both your children and your dog will be more likely to learn and stick to this routine in the future.
- Stick to the schedule.
The puppy is an animal that has certain needs which must be addressed. Sticking to the care schedule you made with your family at the beginning will help to train your dog and facilitate needs. The good news is that once those needs are met, the rest of the time can be spent enjoying the dog and playing.