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Children need to learn how to approach and handle your puppy, to protect both the puppy and the child. Children who live with the puppy must learn the rules.

Introductions

Never reach out and grab a puppy that doesn’t know you. Instead, talk gently to the puppy and offer him the back of your hand, with your fingers curled under, to sniff. Bring your hand slowly up to the puppy, and not down over his head. This lets him get used to your scent in a nonthreatening way and keeps your fingers out of his reach in case he decides to nip. Always keep your face back from the puppy, so that if he gets scared and tries to bite, he can’t reach your face.

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Petting

Once the puppy has accepted you, it is safe to pet him. Don’t be rough or rub him hard, but instead stroke his chest and back. Don’t pet his head until he knows you better, as some puppies may feel threatened by that. Always stroke him in the same direction his hair grows, never against it.

Holding

Be careful when handling or lifting puppies, and don’t walk around carrying a puppy. Puppies can wiggle unexpectedly and may nip or scratch, and your first reaction might be to drop the puppy; if you do, he can be seriously hurt. Sit on the floor or sit where the puppy can’t fall if he gets away from you. Never toss or push a puppy away roughly no matter what he does, and don’t yell at him or hit him, either.

Treats

If you want to give the puppy a treat, hold it in your hand so the puppy can get the treat without grabbing any of your fingers. Puppies don’t always have good manners, and he may try to grab the treat before you are ready. Talk to him when you offer the treat.

Brushing

Puppies that are used to brushing often enjoy being brushed for fun, and it can keep them clean and tangle-free. Use a soft brush and brush in the direction the hair grows.  Be careful brushing around the puppies ears and eyes as it may frighten them.

Playtime

Don’t run away from a puppy, because his natural instinct will be to chase you. If he does run after you and grabs you or puts his paws on you, stop and tell him no, and gently but firmly make him leave you alone. Never let a puppy out where there are cars or even bicycles, because he can be seriously injured or even killed if he chases any kind of vehicle.

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