Puppy love: Help my kids are jealous of our puppy

We’ve had Lucius for just over three months now. He has made a huge impact on our lives. The kids adore him, I adore him and even Mr Reluctant To Have A Dog, has distinctly warmed to him.  But an unintended consequence of having a puppy is how jealous the kids are of Lucius, in particular Super Girl.

Lucius has been a wonderful addition, but his arrival has meant there have been a number of changes to deal with the kids’ jealousy:

A shift in the family hierarchy (or lowerarchy)

Super Girl was always the baby of our family, and she knows how to milk it. She is the cute one, the one who knows how to get away with it. She has been usurped by a gorgeous, golden ball of fur. This has triggered a serious bout of puppy jealousy.

Tantrums and meltdowns have returned (mainly at night when she’s tired) and she’s not happy with the extra responsibility she has been given – keeping her room tidy, picking stuff up off the floor. Sorry girlie you’ve gotta grow up!

We’re fighting for territory

Dogs are pack animal, and Lucius is now part of our pack and he’s trying to figure out his status. Is he a dog, a kid or a grown up? At the moment he’s positioned himself on the same pecking order as the kids. He fights for a place on the sofa.  As much as we’d love to snuggle up with him, his place is on the floor – sorry pup, that’s just it you’re a dog.

Spreading the love

Having a puppy is like having a baby/toddler rolled into one. He needs lots of love and attention, potty training, constantly putting things in his mouth and his nose in places where it should not be (don’t ask!).

There have been a couple of times, when the kids have accused me of loving Lucius more than them, especially Super Girl. Of course I don’t, but you know he doesn’t talk back, has beautiful, molten chocolate eyes, and golden, silky ears…. did I say he doesn’t talk back?

What I do think is that the kids see how much attention he needs and gets, and they feel left out. It probably brings back untapped feelings associated with their early life neglect. (That’s just my hypothesis.) They didn’t get that level of love and attention as babies and now they feel wobbly. But what they are getting, and will continue to get is unconditional love and adoration from Lucius and, of course me.

A few tips for managing kids and puppies

  1. Don’t leave kids unsupervised with a puppy. Lucius, he’s get’s over excited, he’s teething and I’d rather he didn’t teethe on the kids.
  2. Make sure kids stay calm around a puppy. It’s hard with my two, I’ve re-enforced how important it is for them to try to be calm around him, and to leave the room when they feel too excited.
  3. Puppies aren’t toys. It’s tempting to want to wake him up when he’s sleeping to give him a cuddle but this makes him very grumpy, and grumpy pups like to nip.
  4. Give the kids jobs involved with the puppy’s care. Wonder Boy does the evening feed, and Super Girl is water monitor and both are only too happy to carry the poop bags to the nearest bin (result!).
  5. Try crate training. This has done wonders to keep him calm, and keep the kids safe when they are in the same vicinity.
  6. Keep puppy out-of-the-way at meal times. Obvious I know, dangling feet make for nice toe nibbles.
  7. Use a trainer to help with manage the puppy’s behaviour.
  8. Exercise. We go on lots of long walks. It’s good for all of us. Tired pups and kids are happy pups and kids.

Useful puppy resources

Tooting Mama

17 Comments

  1. I would really love to get a dog! I think my kids would love it. Although I have a me reluctant too! Would love to know how you persuded him! X

    • We moved to Paris! After that something had to give. Lucius has really helped the kids settle here!

    • Things are starting to improve. I just love having a dog, it’s a great way to get out and get walking.

  2. ah some fantastic tips here.. Using a trainer to help with manage the puppy’s behaviour is so important.. and never to leave the puppy alone with the kids x

    • Thank you, it’s sounds obvious,but it’s been a great help. He’s part labrador so super nippy!

    • You’re right there! Kids jealous of the pup and the pup jealous of the kids – all fun and games in this house!

  3. Thank you, I will keep you posted on how we progress. Though the kids are just a tincy wincy bit jealous, the do adore him!

  4. It must be tough for kids to not always get all the attention when you have a new pet. Some great tips for helping them intrigate in with your kids x

  5. Oh no… but then again, like everything else this is just a phase. We got T’s dog when she was about 3 and Doc was only a couple of months or so old. She’s our only child so wasn’t really affected. I guess it would be different if she had a sibling.

    • Really hoping it’s just a phase, he’s a rescue dog, so we may have a slightly longer adjusting period.

  6. He is adorable 🙂 My kids always feed the dog too, I believe it helps dogs see themselves as beneath the kids in the pack order. We’ve always used a crate too, and think they are fab. Did I say hes adorable?

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