Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Our daughter is almost four and she has been begging for a puppy for some time now. I always thought we’d probably get a dog someday, but thought “someday” would be a little farther down the line. Thanks to a couple of dog-loving colleagues, I began considering the earlier timeframe. And as soon as I started researching online and looking at all those little puppy faces, I was - of course - a goner.
As anyone who has ever had a puppy knows, training begins immediately. Crate training, puppy-pad training, No Bite! training… And if you have small children in the house, you’re not just training the puppy, you’re training your child as well.
Puppies come with teeth. Little sharp teeth that they like to use excessively. It’s one thing to have little scratches and teeth marks on my hands that are already flawed by years of use and abuse. But I don’t want my daughter to be scarred by her Christmas gift. Not to mention the emotional hurt she feels when the puppy she loves so much treats her like a chew toy.
So we’re training. We’re training Dasher not to bite by using a soda can full of coins (when available), by saying “No bite!” and occasionally giving a momma-dog-type growl, and having plenty of chew toys around. And we’re training my daughter not to pick him up when he doesn’t want to be picked up, to always have appropriate puppy toys handy, to keep her face away from his face when he’s feeling playful and to just let him be beside her when he wants to lay down and chew.
Raising a child is ever-dynamic. As soon as you’ve successfully taught them something, you’re on to teaching them something else. I imagine we’re in for similar experiences with a new puppy – particularly this first year.
Any advice on raising a puppy and child together?
Amy McCall is a Marketing Manager for Texas Health Resources and Mom to one daughter and one adorable schnoodle.