Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Training for two

Santa brought a puppy to our house Christmas morning. A super cute, adorable Schnoodle that Santa himself named “Dasher” after his lead reindeer.

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.

1 comment:

  1. I had a puppy when my husband and I first started dating. We had to train his boys how to be around an excited, loveable, terrier-mutt puppy when they were used to their laid-back, loving black lab (who is now in doggie heaven, sadly).

    What I found was that I had to be ever vigilant, which it sounds like you already are, and that it was more about training the kids than the dog. She got her share of training, of course, but the bigger job was training the boys how to play with her, how to read her signals of when she needed to be left alone, etc. Now, with our 9 month old showing lots of interest in the dog (and the dog being 6 years older), we're doing more training - for both of them, of course. What's nice is that now the big boys can help with that training, because they're old pros!

    Have fun with that puppy - raising a puppy and a child often leads to a great friendship between your baby and your "fur-baby." And likely a lifelong love of animals for your daugther. :)