Many families visit the centre with the intention of obtaining a pet that will grow up with and provide many years of companionship for the children in the family. The number and ages of the children varies considerably from very young babies, to toddlers to teenagers. The essential requirement for a satisfactory, friendly, trusting relationship to be established with the children is that, the parents are totally involved in the dogs training, play and upbringing between the ages of 7 wks - 1 yr old. All interactions between the children and the dog must be supervised. The parents must guide both the child and the dog as to how to play and interact with each other without over stimulation, biting or general mayhem.
Puppies bite which is known as "mouthing". This is normal and natural behaviour for a puppy. It is essential for the parents to teach both the child and the puppy how to eliminate this mouthing. The games which children play with puppies need to be monitored. Children left to play and interact at will may unintentionally teach the puppy "bad manners" which become "unacceptable behaviours" as the puppy reaches adulthood. The first 8 months passes very quickly and if the correct supervision hasn't been given you will find yourself living with a boisterous untrained young dog. Puppies are easily over stimulated by children. Puppies learn very quickly and once a behaviour pattern is learnt it is very difficult to undo.
Your responsibility is to make sure the puppy learns the correct behaviour. Never put the puppy into a situation where it can make a mistake e.g. if a young dog is left with a toddler or younger child it may "mouth" the child's arm in play or chew and bite the child's clothing. It may also chew the child's toys and run off with them becoming over stimulated by the child's gurgling, shouts or yells.
Here are a few guidelines to follow, whether you have a puppy or a recently acquired adult dog, in order not to cause any problems in the relationship between him and your children.
Remember, no small child should ever be left unsupervised with ANY dog.
Please remember to contact the centre staff for advice if you have any concerns or need any advice or support whilst settling in your new family member.