Introducing a Dog into Your Family


Most kids have phases of being desperate for a pet. They want hamsters, cats, gerbils and usually, dogs. Some kids grow out of these phases, or you buy them a hamster, and they are utterly bored with it within a week. Leaving you to clean out the cage and find it when it escapes.

Dogs, however, are usually a little different. To start with, many adults also love the idea of bringing a dog into the home. Those of us that grew up with a dog know how wonderful they can be. We know that a dog will be our children’s best friend and chief protector. We know that a dog would be a loving and loyal member of the family and that they would grow to become as important and loved as any of the humans in our family. Dogs are loyal, loving, protective, affectionate and caring. They are also fun, entertaining and a great way to encourage everyone to get more exercise and spend more time outdoors. Unlike other pets, dogs hold our children’s interest and attention, because they give back. They don’t just take our attention and love. They give it back. They care about us, read our emotions and offer us comfort when we need it.

Bringing a dog into your family is almost certainly a great idea. But, how do you actually go about it? Dogs, like children, are wary of change. Bringing them into a house full of noisy kids can cause distress all around. Here’s how to ease the transition and welcome your new pal with as little stress and upset as possible.

Prepare the Kids

It’s crucial that your children understand that owning a dog isn’t just about playing with them and having fun. Obviously, how much they need to know, can understand and want to help with will depend on their age and maturity. A two-year-old can’t be expected to understand doggy clean up or groom them alone. You know your kids, so you are the best person to judge.

Tell them as much as you can. Go to the library and get books on dog care, look at different breeds together online, read advice and guides, learn about a dog’s needs and temperament, and even borrow a friends dog for the day if you can. Explaining that owning a pet is a responsibility and that a dog is certainly not a toy.

It’s also essential that you prepare them for that first introduction. They need to know that the dog will be nervous and unsure. That they won’t be ready to play or even be stroked straight away. Explain that they need to be calm and controlled or the dog will be afraid. If you think your child will be over excited, perhaps bring the dog home for the first time when they aren’t there.

Involve Them

Bringing a dog home isn’t as simple as popping to the shop and picking one that you like. There’s more to it, and a great way to prepare your children for this new member of your family is involving them in the process. Study together, visit pet shops, look at breeds, go out shopping for waterproof dog beds, food, toys and other dog essentials. Get them to help you to prepare a bed and feeding area in your home. Involve them as much as you can, and it will help them to prepare but also to adjust to the idea that owning a dog takes work.

Find the Right Dog


Different breeds of dogs have vastly different temperaments. Some are quiet. Others, playful and excitable. Some like to be alone. Others love to be surrounded by people. Some are great with kids, but others ideally should only be around adults.

Different breeds also have differing needs. Some grow long hair and need lots of grooming. Others don’t shed and take less care. Some require long daily walks, whereas others are happy to sit at home and need much less exercise. Some are healthy and strong, others more susceptible to illness. Some even live for a lot longer than others.

Do your research into different breeds, thinking about what you want from your dog, as well as what you have to offer them. Ask yourself how much time you can realistically give them, how long they will be alone at home, how expensive they are to care for and how they behave with children. You should also consider the size of your home, the temperament of your child and any other pets you already own.

However, once you’ve chosen a breed, it’s still important to remember that not all dogs are the same. If possible, ask about its parents, and try to meet them, to get a better idea of how your dog is likely to settle in and behave.

Go for a Long Walk


When you first arrive home with your new companion, it’s a good idea to put them on their lead and take them out for a long walk. This will help them settle, show them the area and also burn off some energy. This can mean that they are a lot calmer when they enter your home.

Start Slowly

When you get back to your house, ask your new dog to sit while you open the door. Then, you step through first and invite them in. This lays some early boundaries and lets them know who is in charge. Then, start slowly. Try to avoid too much stimulation, which might be overwhelming. Speak to them quietly, or not at all, and let them explore the house. Do this alone to start with, then introduce other family members later on.

Give the Kids Jobs

As soon as the kids have met your new friend, it’s important to assign them responsibilities. This lets the dog know that the kids are masters too, it instills respect straight away. But, it also helps the kids to take things seriously. Simple jobs could include things like going for walks with you, helping you to get food ready or change water, or brushing and cleaning.


Leave a Reply