Ways to Help Your Toddler and Dog Bond

Having a family pet can have a positive social and emotional benefit on your newborn or toddler. But young children and pets will not always get along right away. Here are some ways you can build a strong bond between your child and pet.

Supervise Small Interactions

Babies like to explore their environment, grabbing and poking at objects around them. But a child’s sudden movements or painful fist around a pet’s ear can cause your pet to react negatively. Take your child’s hand and guide it down the pet’s fur, teaching your child how to show affection calmly and slowly. Hold small “play” sessions during the day, when your child can bond with the pet. These small interactions will build an emotional bond over time.

Share Toys

Ask your toddler to give one of his toys to the pet. This teaches your toddler how to share and invites the toddler to play with the pet. Show your child how to hold a toy out to the pet. If playing tug-of-war, make sure you guide the child or pet to drop the toy if play becomes too rough.

Take a Family Road Trip

A family trip in the car with your pet is a fun way for kids and pets to bond. A pet-friendly trip to a state park is a great way to spend quality family time and enjoy the beautiful outdoors! Find inspiration for your family travels with the personalized book My U.S.A. Road Trip.

Splash in the Water or Mud!

Kids and dogs love to get messy! Take a trip to a nearby lake so your child and pet can swim together. If it has just rained, your child and dog can splash in the puddles. Warning: this activity will turn your child and dog into a muddy (albeit happy) mess!

Storytime with Your Toddler and Dog

Reading provides comfort to both your toddler and dog, especially at nighttime when the whole family wants to unwind. Storytime is a bonding activity, allowing child and dog to cuddle up with a warm blanket. A personalized storybook like If My Dog Could Talk is customized with your child’s and pet’s names and photos, perfect for bringing them closer together.