Teaching your child about the care and love of animals is one of the most important things you can do for them. They not only learn about the animal but also many other important lessons that will carry them on throughout out life: Responsibility, Compassion, Love, Friendship and Work Ethics just to mention a few.

      Here we go, this is your first day at home with your new baby!!! You have anxiously waited for this moment, planned, maybe bought a bed and all the other necessities like toys, food, collar and leash. Your children are as excited as you are. They see the puppy for the first time, go running up to it screaming and yelling with excitement!!!! The puppy yips once runs and hides under the couch and you spend an hour coaxing him out. He is obviously terrified and you hold him and reassure him. Your two-year-old comes running up wanting to hold the puppy placing the puppy in his arms; he squirms to get away as your baby is holding him a little to tight. The pup jumps down and runs under the couch……..AGAIN! This is a familiar situation in many a household with small children, and puppies. While everyone means well and some do not know any better, if you don't rectify this situation in a hurry it will get out of hand.

      Here are a few simple things you can do when you have small children and also want the joy of a little Rat Terrier in your household. First get yourself a portable kennel or crate where the puppy has a safe place to be when it is tired or when you are too busy to attend to your pup. If that doesn't work for you try a playpen. The first thing to do for any puppy is provide a "safe place" for him when you are not there to supervise. This is great especially when you are trying to housebreak. Keep him in a spot where you can keep an eye on him or in a place your children can't get access to unless you want them to.

     The second thing to do is ALWAYS watch your child while he or she is with the pup. Make it a fun learning time. At two years or younger a child is not going to be the gentlest, but if you want your child and your dog to get along you must help them and teach them. Regardless of how gentle natured the dog is especially as puppies, they can and do get hurt easily by small children. Teach your child not to pull ears or tails, not to jump on the dog and not to pick up the dog unless you are there to help them. If you start young, everyone will learn.

     These things may save your pup from accidental injury or your child from getting bit! While most puppies are friendly and loving, if hurt enough times they will eventually bite to let whoever is hurting them know, that it really hurts. They can't get away and so therefore they do what is only natural for them to do, Bite. Given the choice, a puppy will hide if someone is hurting them, or run away, but if those options are not there, they will do what they have to in order to protect themselves. When you have a small child they do not know whether they are hurting the pup, so it is important for you to be there to monitor and teach the child when they are playing too roughly, hurting or teasing the puppy. If they do not learn what is acceptable and what isn't from you, then how is a small child to know.

     If you want a happy well adjusted pup who gets along with everyone and is loving and gentle you must treat him in that manner. Teach your children to do the same. Caring for your puppy can be a rewarding and loving time for both you and your child when he is treated with kindness and respect. The bottom line is if you have small children and want a pup, be prepared to spend lots of time teaching your child and puppy how to interact with one another and what is and what not is acceptable behavior for both puppy and child. In the end the hours you spend doing this will pay off by having a happy well adjusted dog and child who is loved by that dog…..Remember, don't give up, have patience, it will come for both baby and dog.