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New puppy and daughter(20 Posts)
Hi all. We brought home our new 8 week old Labrador puppy yesterday. He is absolutely gorgeous, he is doing well with his toilet and crate training so far, and has even learned the sit command! He hasn’t nipped any of us, he’s been lovely!
The only problem we are having is that my 5 year old daughter (who was so excited to be having a puppy) is terrified! She won’t be on the floor if he is awake, she runs and screams if he goes near her, she has spent all of her time on the sofa. Our puppy is understandably getting frustrated that he isn’t able to get any where near her and has barked at her twice because of this. I know it’s early days but does anyone have any suggestions on how to make her more confident with him? We’ve tried sitting her on our knee to stroke him, we’ve tried holding the puppy for my daughter to stroke, but anytime he even looks at her she runs across the room 🙁 just wondering if anyone else has had this problem with their children and did anything help? I’m worried that she won’t get over this fear!
And also what should we do when he barks at her or tries to jump up the sofa to her?
I kept my dog on a lead around the kids in the early weeks. Even inside.
Why is she scared? Has the pup mouthed her?
Is she scared of all dogs or just this one?
We’ve had a few children scared of dogs
You need to explain why the dog does things - barks for attention say as DD shouting Mum -
Paws - wants fuss
She’ll get used to him
She is old enough to be told that screaming at/because of a puppy is not allowed and will make the poor dog upset and anxious. She needs to be taught some self-control.
Yes I think kids need to be taught how to behave around puppies. Just because he hasn’t nipped yet doesn’t mean he won’t. Hopefully he won’t be too nippy but he is a puppy.
The worst behaviour around dogs from
kids is running away and screaming and flapping their arms around so you’ll have to teach her not to do this.
I’m sure she’ll grow more comfortable with him but she’s 5 so she must understand how to behave around the dog.
My kids benefited from getting involved with training? So loose lead walking practice in the garden with lots of treats. It’s a slow process. Some days they hate our puppy if he jumps and nips.
Didn't she meet him with you when you chose him? Have you involved her with choosing his name/collar etc, giving him his food etc? She's old enough to be told be calm and gentle around him so I would work on that first.
was the puppy a surprise? had it not come up in conversation when preparing for the puppy that she’s scared of dogs, or is she just scared of him since he’s come home?
She shouldn't be allowed to run around and scream like that - all it will do is hype the dog up and make his behaviour worse.
Believe me, when he's going through the teenage mouthing and nipping and bouncing stage (which can last a good couple of years in labs) she needs to behave properly or she's going to end up getting hurt.
Keep pup on a lead inside for now so you can control any interaction they have, but any bad behaviour on her part (running, screaming, grabbing or hurting the puppy etc) needs to be dealt with right away.
what about some role play...to diffuse the tension. A puppy sized soft toy (dog) that she can practise having near her, she can pat and stroke and go through all the motions with. Or getting some soft puppy toys that he can play with when she is nearby, so she can get a sense that he is just a baby/toddler not a threat. From her point of view he is much larger than he is to you.
I wouldn't ask her to do too much with him until she feels more acclimatized, but I would make a big thing about how much he loves her and looks forward to seeing her without expecting her to touch him or sit next to him or be brave. It is a bit like water isn't it, if you are scared, you have to do the swimming in baby steps.
The last thing you want is for her to feel all the attention is going to the puppy; the aim is to make her feel big and important and the puppy small and sweet (not threatening)
Thank you so much for your replies everyone. It wasn’t a surprise puppy, we had discussed the puppy idea with my daughter for months and she was always very enthusiastic. When we finally found a breeder and knew we would be picking up our puppy, we made sure we spent a lot of time preparing our daughter on how she needed to behave around the puppy but that all seems to have gone out of the window! Unfortunately we didn’t take her when we went to pick the puppy so that was a mistake.
She hasn’t had much experience of dogs, she has only really seen them walked in the area, although she has never shown that she is scared of them. But I guess it’s a lot different having a dog in your house to just seeing one in the street! We have two 8 year old cats who she is great with, so I thought she’d be good with a puppy too.
She has had a stern talking to each time she screams / runs from him. We had a long talk with her this afternoon about her behaviour, and she actually managed to sit on my knee after that and stroke the puppy and even let him lick her hand! She didn’t run or scream thankfully so that’s a little bit of progress!
There’s some really great suggestions from you all and we will definitely try them with her thank you .
So she hadn’t even met the pup before you brought it home? No decent breeder would sell a pup without meeting the entire family.
Use a longline for now.
And get good insurance if pup didn’t come from a decent breeder.
Look into exposure therapy, used this method for my 2yr and it worked
Just be warned OP - labradors grow quickly and they're very boisterous and mouthy as puppies - and unfortunately they do take a while to mature and calm down as well.
You'll need to keep an eye on them at all times and never leave them together unattended.
Yeah my lab is 6 and she's just starting to calm down!
You are very lucky(both of you) not to have yet felt your pup's needle sharp teeth, but you will. I have never met one that isn't piranha like. There is no question that at some stage your daughter will come into contact with the puppies teeth (well, unless you keep them separate all the time!). You need to prepare her for this by teaching her to behave around the puppy in a calm manner, and what to do if the puppy starts becoming too boisterous with her. I know other people have said it, but it's a good job puppies look so sweet and appealing, because no one would entertain having one otherwise.
It’s too late now but no way should you have got a puppy or any dog without ALL the family meeting it several times first
I’m surprised the breeder didn’t insist on it
Our Retriever puppy was like a little crocodile- my dc were 7 and 11 at the time and found it very hard.
Hopefully they will both get used to each other and end up great friends ( like my dc and Ddog) but it’s going to be hard work for all of you
Totally normal - puppies and small children don't go together easily. Mine used to hide in the crate to get away from ours. I used to have to carry them over the baby gate and pop them into their chairs at the table to avoid our 'land shark'. It's more about training the kids than training the dog in my opinion! Being really strict about these rules might help:
-no playing down on floor with pup
-no jumping about/shouting
-carry a toy whenever possible to distract from biting (because it's going to get much worse!)
-no running/chasy games
-obviously leave pup alone we hen he's in 'his space'.
Sounds draconian and boring but it does help.
Oh, and apologies if this has been mentioned before but let her fed the dog. He needs to see her as an authority figure too rather than a litter mate.
I agree with Aquila pack theory is rubbish but our pup definitely saw the smallest person in our house (DS) as the easiest target.
It took a lot of work before Ddog liked/respected him ( and vice versa)
interesting about the smallest person in the household - we’ve noticed with two different young dogs that they really go for our 3 year old (friendly! but nipping a lot)