Is your family looking to adopt a pet? Follow these easy steps from our expert ease your child's fears and turn them into pet lovers!
Monsters under the bed and the dark may be at the top of your child’s “things I’m afraid of” list, but what about your household pet? Although playful (and cuddly), dogs can be intimidating, especially if they are a new addition to your home. Initially, your child may need time to adjust to the loud and frequent barking, the running, and jumping, but there are solutions to help ease your kids’ fears. Our expert Heidi Ganahl, CEO and founder of Camp Bow Wow, offers advice for helping them overcome those pet phobias:
1. Pet Practice
Try showing your child how to interact with pets by using a stuffed animal. Show him how to safely play with his furry friend. A stuffed animal can make for a lovable practice buddy that your child will feel more comfortable around.
2. Story Time
Read your child stories about happy pets and their owners. Depending on your child’s age, this can greatly impact how they feel about dogs and cats.
3. Calm and Honest
Forcing your child to pet an animal or insisting that a pet is harmless may only increase their fears. It’s important to keep your child calm around the dog or cat. If they are forced to make contact, it may only frighten them (or the animal) even more.
4. Play Date
Once your child stops fearing pets at a distance, it may be time to gradually introduce her to a friend or relative’s dog or cat. At first, make introductions brief if your child seems hesitant. Over time, lengthen the amount of time spent.
Finally, take your child to a pet adoption site, and allow them to pick out their new pet! The excitement of having the pet of their choice may be the incentive they need to let go of their fears.