If you’re looking to adopt or foster a Boxer dog, it’s important to make sure that your children are comfortable with the new addition — and that your new Boxer is comfortable as well. Adoptive families sometimes worry that introducing children to a new family pet can be an intimidating or stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these seven tips, you can ensure both your children and the dog not only have a safe and happy first meeting, but to build the trust needed to establish a long-term relationship as a valued member of your family.
- Start Early: It’s best to start introducing your children to the idea of a furry friend joining the family before bringing home a dog. Have conversations about how having a pet in the house will change things for everyone, including what kind of responsibility or chores they will take on as part of adopting a dog, and how your daily schedules might change. For example, everyone may need to wake up earlier to make time for morning walks and playtime. Find out what questions they have and any concerns or fears they might have, and talk to them about it. This way, your kids will be more prepared when it comes time for the actual introduction.
- Do Some Research: Depending on their age and maturity level, you may choose to have your children help pick out their puppy or an older pup. Doing research together is a great way to get them excited and familiarize them with what makes Boxers different from other breeds of dogs and how they change as they mature so they have a better idea of what age and personality they would like to meet. Austin Boxer Rescue and our newsletter feature photos and biographies of dogs available for adoption, which offers many insights into their personalities. When you’re ready to take the next step, you can visit our Adoption Days to start getting familiar with individual dogs and their personalities as you proceed with the application process. While puppies are always popular, especially with children, many families have found that adopting a slightly older Boxer who has already had some basic training with a foster family can make for an easier adoption.
- Let the Dog Come To You: When introducing your Boxer pup or adult dog for the first time, let him or her come up to your child on their own terms. Don’t force either of them into any situation they don’t feel comfortable in — give them some space at first until the dog warms up naturally. Once both parties feel comfortable enough, then you can start introducing the dog slowly by allowing him around one child at a time if there are multiple children involved, and in short bursts rather than all at once. This will be less overwhelming for both the children and the dog. During Adoption Days, all children must be accompanied by their parents or another adult both for their protection and for the dog’s safety. Supervised introductions are a great way to see which dogs respond to your children and how they interact.
- Remember Safety First: Maybe you’ve already adopted a Boxer but aren’t sure how to introduce them to your extended family or the neighbor’s children. Before letting your dog around any kids, make sure he has been properly trained and knows basic commands such as “sit”, “stay” and “down” so that if anything starts getting out of hand (or paw!), there is still some control over the situation and no one gets hurt in the process (including Miss Wiggle Butt). Additionally, keep an eye out for any signs of fear or aggression from either party. This might include body language like raised hackles, low growls or lip curling. Address those quickly by taking everyone away from each other until calm is restored before trying again later when emotions have cooled off.
- Stick With Positive Reinforcement: When teaching kids how to interact with their new pup, it’s best to use positive reinforcement methods for the dog instead of punishment-based methods as this will create a more trusting relationship. This can also discourage bad pet behaviors like jumping up onto furniture or stealing food from kitchen counters, which could lead to accidents down the road if left unchecked. Additionally, use treats as rewards for good behavior. This encourages positive feelings toward each other during interactions like walks outside or playing catch. Remember to praise them both throughout these activities. Verbal praise is just as important as physical rewards when building trust between humans and animals alike!
- Set Boundaries and Expectations: Prioritize safety first by setting boundaries for children and dogs. This may mean keeping doors closed unless both children and dogs are supervised in rooms where there are potential hazards such as stairs or sharp objects that could cause harm if touched without supervision or knowledge (e.g., electrical cords). It may also mean keeping children’s toys separate from your dog toys, so your dog doesn’t get confused and your child doesn’t get upset by having their favorite stuffed animal toy chewed up. Always set expectations in terms of behavior. Kids should always ask permission before approaching or touching your Boxer or any other dog, even though he may be friendly. This teaches respect between human/animal relationships which can go far beyond just initial introductions. Lastly, provide clear instructions on where and when certain activities should take place (e.g., running and chasing the ball only happen outdoors) so everyone knows what’s expected from them in advance. This helps keep things consistent, which promotes better relationships down the line.
7 . Spend Quality Time Together: After everything else has been sorted out (training sessions completed and boundaries established), now’s the time to just relax and enjoy each other’s company. Spend quality time together doing whatever it is that brings joy and happiness to both children and dogs alike. This could range from playing fetch to cuddling up on the couch watching movies, which Boxers love to do – the possibilities are endless! Boxers love to be part of the family and everyday activity, and will do much better in a home where they’re allowed to be next to you and your children most of the time. Remember to be patient with each other during every step, because forming lasting bonds takes time and effort.
Adopting or fostering a Boxer dog can be an exciting experience for everyone involved—your family included! By following these seven tips above when introducing your children to their new furry friend you can ensure both parties have an enjoyable experience while creating lasting bonds that will last long after Adoption Day has passed.