Owning a cat or a dog as a pet is one of the most wonderful things for a child. Pets teach compassion, how to be gentle and as kids get older, responsibility. To make this a positive experience, your puppy or kitten needs to be well adjusted and this requires your help.
Ensure your pet has regular and safe exposure to children early on. Introduce your pet to “child like” touch such as gentle pulling of ears, feet and stroking. Give lots of rewards when your pet accepts this contact.
Reward your pet with praise or food when in the presence of the children; this will create a positive association for your pet. Shouting at a puppy or a kitten or locking him or her outside will create a negative association.
Always provide an area where your puppy or kitten can escape and have some “time out.”
Lastly and importantly, never leave your children alone with your pet.
For more information visit the Royal Children’s Hospital Safety Centre for an excellent downloadable brochure.