Bringing a puppy into your house can be an exciting and joyful experience, but it involves a lot of aspects that you need to see before adopting it.
Especially when you have a 4-year-old child at home, there would be a lot of factors that need to be considered so that both, the child and the puppy, can live together safely and happily.
To have a smooth and safe process, I have gathered up some useful tips and points to consider so that you can enter into this new chapter of life more easily.
What things to consider before getting a puppy with a 4-year-old child?
Consider the following things before getting a puppy when you have a young child.
1- Time dedication:
Before anything else, ask yourself a question “Am I ready to invest enough time in a puppy?”
If you have any doubts about it then don’t put yourself into such responsibility as getting a puppy requires so much time and attention.
Keep in mind that you already have a 4-year-old who requires a lot of time. And you cannot leave a puppy and a young child unsupervised. So, you will have to be there always to supervise them.
2- Financial management:
Getting a puppy means putting yourself into extra financial burden but if you can easily keep up with spending money on puppy vaccination, food, vet visits, toys, and other supplies then you are good to go in terms of finances.
3- See your child’s temperament:
The most important thing you need to consider after time and finances is to know how your 4-year-old would react to having a puppy at home.
Closely analyze his overall nature towards animals.
Take him to parks or in the neighborhood where you can find animals and see how he reacts upon seeing them.
If your child is typically rough with animals, you may consider waiting a few more years before getting a puppy.
4- Thoroughly research the puppy’s breed:
Different dog breeds have different levels of energy, temperaments, and requirements.
It is important to do thorough research on the breed of the puppy to know whether it would fit into your family and lifestyle easily.
5- Make sure your house will be safe for the puppy:
Puppies are just like babies so for the initial days you need to look after them like a baby but as they start growing up they become curious and chew things here and there.
You already have a little child who would need constant attention.
The new puppy may get into dangerous situations like an electric current, falling from a height or drowning, etc.
6- Get your family checked for any allergies:
Make sure that any of your family members do not have a pet allergy.
Because once you get the puppy you cannot just get him out of the house or put it up for adoption.
7- See whether the puppy can live in your lifestyle:
If you or your family are frequent travelers or stay away from home for hours or days.
Then it will not be a good idea to adopt a puppy as it cannot live alone or change its place whenever you travel.
8- See how much responsible your child is:
As an adult, you may have decided to keep a pet but see if your child has a sense of responsibility. Will he be able to keep up the puppy nicely?
If you see your child has become responsible and independent in some of his tasks then getting a puppy would be a nice idea.
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Tips to help a 4-year-old understand what a puppy is :
1- Make up your child’s mind:
Once you are 100% sure of getting a dog along with your child then start making up his mind. This includes talking to him about the puppy and showing him its pictures.
Tell him you are planning to get a new puppy and share interesting facts about it.
2- Keep it simple:
Explain to the child that puppies are just like babies and they have to be handled with care and love.
3- Take promise:
Many 4-year-olds understand what a promise is. So, take a promise that you will be getting a puppy as a pet but he needs to treat the puppy with love and take responsibility to the fullest.
4- Don’t leave the child and puppy unattended:
Once all the mind-making is done, finally bring the puppy to the house but when the puppy arrives, don’t just leave the kid with him unattended.
5- Demonstrate gentle petting:
Demonstrate the proper way of petting and holding a puppy. Show your child how he can play with the puppy initially as they are fragile and needs to be handled gently.
6- Set strict boundaries:
Front the beginning, set strict boundaries so that any inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated like hitting, pushing, squeezing, or throwing.
7- Involve the child with you when you interact with the puppy:
Call your child whenever feed the puppy, play with it, takes it to the potty training, or go out for a walk. When you involve your child in the process, he will eventually learn how to handle the puppy and this will bring both of them together.
8- Get your child some books:
The best thing you can do is to reinforce good behavior through reading books. I have some awesome recommendations for books that can teach your child how to get along with the new puppy.
As the name says it all, this book is definitely going to help your child know what is best to do before getting the puppy.
The illustration and rhymes help the child to know what commitments and behaviors are needed when you own a dog.
Tails are Not For Pulling is a great book for children who need to know the basic of kindness towards animals.
The delightful illustration raises awareness regarding safety, handling, petting, and respecting the pet. If you are facing difficulty in raising a child along with a pet, this book is a great pick.
This coloring and learn guide book has thirty easy-to-colour pictures along with some excellent tips on how to care for the dog. Your child will gradually learn how to create a safe and healthy environment for the pet along with how to pet, feed, groom, handle, and play with the new pet.
Tips to keep a 4-year-old separate from his new puppy pet until he learns to get along:
If you experience difficulty adjusting your 4-year-old to the new puppy initially. You can try these tips to keep them separate for some days.
1- Keep the puppy in a separate room/ Playpen initially:
If your 4-year-old is getting too rough with the puppy, keep the puppy in a separate room or a playpen where your child cannot access it alone. especially until the child knows how to behave.
Take your child to the puppy in your presence and let him touch, pet or hold.
2- Bring the puppy into the house for some time:
Bring the puppy into the main house for some hours and teach your child how to keep up nicely with the puppy and reinforce every time that the puppy it is going to be with us all the time in a few days.
3- Set timings for the interactions:
Dedicate some time for interaction with the puppy every day. Let’s say do it after your child comes home from his school and has his lunch. Tell the child that now that you had your lunch, it’s time to feed the puppy now.
4- Encourage positive interaction:
Always highlight and encourage your child when he treats the puppy with love. Every time he gently pets him or holds him appropriately, praise his behavior and tell him that we are getting close to bringing the puppy inside the house really soon.
5- No room for roughness:
If you see any harshness in your child’s behavior, keep the puppy in a safe room and train your child first then bring the puppy into the house.
6- Little lies would help:
If your child keeps insisting to bring the puppy into the house, tell him that he is very small and cannot live with humans at this point, we can only meet them for some time. Once the puppy is ready to live with us, we will bring it in.
when you are thinking of getting a new puppy and you already have a 4-year-old child at home, you must consider the safety, the amount of time and finance you will be spending on the puppy.
Making your child aware of the puppy is another important step. Stories and activity books may help you make your child understand what a puppy is.