Of Kids and Dogs
Every now and again I hear “We got the puppy for my son so he could learn responsibility”. It’s not a bad premise but, it is important to understand what your part of that bargain will be depending upon your child’s age. Parents will always need to be involved on some level.
Just like puppies children need structure. If you expect your child to be responsible set up a work chart. Add the elements that a well rounded pup will need: exercise, training, feeding, potty training and appropriate play are a good start. The parent will need to know how to trouble shoot problem behaviors in the pup in order to help the child make the right choices. Kids can become frustrated easily by very common puppy behaviors like mouthing and nipping.
Realize that all interactions provide information to a puppy. It’s not just the good things that happen that the pup will remember. Any time a puppy strains on the end of a leash or gets pulled around they take that as information on leash behavior. Puppies often mirror the state of the person interacting with them. If a person gets frustrated the puppy will likely reciprocate the sentiment with barking or nipping.
The long and the short of it is to be prepared to guide the process fully. Parental participation in the process could require just as much effort as doing it yourself. It’s the best way to make sure both the puppy and child acquire the necessary skills.