Getting a new puppy can be an exciting time for any family, but for those who already have young kids or another dog, it can suddenly be a challenge. As cute as they are, puppies are sensitive and reactive, and how you introduce them to your home can set the tone for how they’ll act in the future. If you have a new puppy in your life that you’re anxious about introducing to your family, we have some tips to ensure they become a welcome addition to your home.

How to Introduce Your Puppy to Young Kids

If there’s one thing most kids love, it’s a new puppy. As exciting as it can be for your young child to have their own furry friend, it’s critical that you properly introduce your child to your puppy to prevent any unfavorable interactions. Both young kids and puppies are vulnerable and impressionable, and taking the proper precautions will prevent hostility and help them become a team.

Find an Open Space

One of the most essential things you can do when introducing your puppy to your kid is do it in an open space. This is most beneficial to the puppy, as an open space will prevent them from feeling trapped at any point. If they get anxious, they can move around without feeling like they have to defend themselves. 

Show Your Child How to Approach the Puppy

Once you have your puppy and child in the same space, show your child how to approach the puppy calmly. Let them slowly walk up to the puppy from the side, stopping a few feet away. Then let the puppy approach the rest of the way, so they don’t feel forced into the interaction.

Although your child may be excited, tell them to remain as still and quiet as possible. Any sudden noises or movements may startle the puppy and make them feel uncomfortable with your kid. 

Let the Puppy Get Comfortable

When it seems like your puppy is comfortable approaching your child, allow them more time to acclimate and feel safe. Let your puppy sniff around, hear their voice, and if your child is okay with it, sniff the back of their hands. Once your puppy seems comfortable, ask your child to gently stroke their head and neck while avoiding sensitive areas like the ears and stomach.

How to Introduce Your Puppy to Your Dog

Introducing your puppy to your other dog can be just as sensitive as introducing them to your child. It can be more difficult in some ways, as your dog may be territorial and unpredictable. But with the proper training and precautions, your dog and puppy will become a cohesive team.

Update Vaccinations

Before either dog lays eyes on the other, ensure both are up to date on their vaccinations. Certain illnesses are transferable from an older dog to a puppy, even if your older dog has received vaccinations in the past. Vaccinating your puppy will also lower the chances of your older dog getting any parasites or worms.

Bring Both Dogs to a Neutral Location

Similarly to how you introduce your child to your puppy; it’s best to introduce your dog and puppy to one another in an open, neutral environment. Whether it’s an open field or a nearby park, having your dog and puppy meet somewhere the dog won’t feel territorial is essential. 

Keep Them Engaged

Once your dog and new puppy are with one another, take the time to slowly introduce them and allow them to get acclimated. It’s often wise to keep them both on leashes at first, letting them sniff each other and get a sense for one another. Then as they get more comfortable, encourage them to play and interact.

It’s important to establish boundaries during this time and begin training your dog against jumping, mouthing, and other unfavorable behaviors. Keep a close eye on both dogs, and watch as they gradually become a strong team.