Dog Trainer to help Kids with new puppy??

We just adopted an amazing little 5 lb puppy. She is smart, gentle and sweet. Our two girls aged 3 and 5 are smitten, but are totally harassing the sweet thing!

We have tried everything to explain to them that the dog is a living creature and not a toy, she can't be picked up like a stuffy, you can't be in her face all the time, you have to give her space when she eats etc etc.. The puppy has thus far been tolerant, but I am starting to see her shy away from the kids and gravitate more to my husband and I for relief from this behavior.

Does anyone know of a dog trainer who teaches kids dog manners? Our attempts at training our human kids is going nowhere, and we don't want to raise a dog that is afraid, skiddish or aggressive towards children.

Any suggestions or recommendations appreciated!

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

We really liked Maria at BravoPup. We (my whole family included my kids) took the BravoPup puppy classes with her. I think your kids are probably too young to attend a class, but Maria also does private training. Not only does she have an extensive background in dog training, she also has an educational background teaching middle school (and older) students in the humanities. Her info is here:

But in the meantime, you may want to consider either crate-training or sectioning off a room, or part of a room, for your pup, if you haven't yet done so. That can be a "no-kids allowed" space for your pup to go to when she wants to be left alone. She can even be fed here there peace. Even after your kids are trained, they'll have friends over that are not, and having that space for your pup can help keep everyone safe and happy.


For what it's worth, here is why you should find the puppy a new home, and wait to get a puppy until the girls are older: dog training (once the trainer leaves) only works if everybody in the family is consistent with it at all times, and I don't know any children who are capable of creating a consistent environment for themselves, much less a hapless puppy, at all times. So, when the training fails, as it will with a lack of consistency, you will have wasted your money and possibly created an environment where a terrified dog could become a biter. Please, please, do what is fair to both your family and the dog: take the puppy back, and get an older dog who is good with children, or wait until your kids are older! Frightened dogs bite, and it is often not the dog's fault, but it is the dog who pays with its own life if it bites a child.

You want to hire someone to train your kids? You are the parent, that is your job! You need to discipline your kids! Explain the rules, then put them on time out for 4 minutes when they break them. Repeat as necessary.

You need to be consistent with your kids, and talking to them about "why" won't work - especially the little one is not old enough/capable of that much self control. And puppies are just too much fun! You need to set the rules, tell the kids clearly what they are, and tell them what will happen if they break them, "because everybody has to follow the rules to be nice to the dog". Then you have to be ready to be consistent.  That means every time, until they have internalized how they need to interact with the dog. It doesn't need to be a big deal, or a scolding, just don't make the rules too complicated and be consistent in your follow through. Every time, until they get it.  We had 2 kids and a puppy in a very small apartment - what worked for us: a "time-out" place on the bottom step of our staircase where they had to sit if they broke a rule. Not a long time, just enough for them to take a break and remember the rule. Doggy crate is a great idea also, and dogs usually like it because they are "den" animals. You do want to handle this right away, though, because a pattern of inconsistancy with the kids or the dog is gonna make things miserable (and it's not either the kids' or the dogs' fault, they are just being who they are).

Many animal shelters will not allow a puppy to be adopted by a family with pre-schoolers. I didn't understand why until I watched my grandchildren torment our senior dog. Even with our best efforts to teach, supervise and limit access, it was tough. Can you rehome it now with a friend or relative who can care for it properly and you can visit?  Wait a few years, and then start with an adult dog and do the dog training with your children.

Well, you can hire a trainer but you are ultimately going to have to implement what they tell you. Adopting a dog with young children in the house is a huge parenting task. If you don't think you're up for it, you should re-home the dog.

You have to be on top of the situation 24/7. Honestly, try positive rewards for both the kids and the dog when they interact well together. Separate them when they don't. 

If you don't take this seriously, you are going to end up with a dog who has issues. And depending on how severe they get, that can be tragic.

If you are up for the challenge, this can be an awesome way to teach your kids the lifelong lesson of being kind and respectful to animals. We adopted a dog when our son was 4 and he's now 10 and he is a huge defender/lover of animals and has a very strong sense of what's right and wrong when it comes to how kids (and adults) treat their pets. He was taught early on what was ok and not ok with our dog. Our dog didn't trust him 100% as quickly as he did the rest of us, as he was a very active and loud 4-year-old! But trust was built and now the two of them couldn't be better friends. 

It's a wonderful thing. But you can't kid yourself that you can hire someone to do this for you. You have to take on the challenge, and it is not minimal.