10 tips for choosing the best first puppy for children

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There’s plenty of research that shows the influence of early experiences of puppies on the psychological and behavioural outcome in the adult dog. When pups are reared in isolation (e.g. in a sterile, puppy-farm type environment), they are far more likely to turn out to be fearful, anxious adult dogs. You can’t change what your pup has already been through, but from when the pup arrives in your home, you can take steps to ensure that they have pleasant, calm interactions with everything around them.

From the noisy vacuum cleaner to the beeping microwave to the blaring television, the aim is to get them gradually used to their surroundings. If they ever show fear, then back off, and try again, more gently, at another time. They should also be introduced to a range of humans, including men with beards, women wearing hats and any other types who are around. The more diverse the better, so that the pup learns as much about the world as possible.

You should also make contact with a good local dog trainer – ask your vet for a recommendation – and as soon as your pup is fully protected after vaccinations, start to take your dog to regular dog training classes. A well-behaved, well-trained dog is key to having a successful first pet for your children.

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