Choosing a dog for kids
We live in a house where the only babies have fur, but there are other households that decide to do things in a different order. The kids come first, and then the dog(s) so families can make sure that their new furry family member gets along well with everyone. When you have kids, buying a dog shouldn’t be a snap decision. When you visit a breeder or shelter, you might be tempted to scoop up the first pup that looks at you with sad puppy dog eyes (we’re really good at that, you know!) but you’ve got to proceed with caution. Making smart decisions ensures that you’re bringing a dog into his or her furever home!
1. Learn about the dog breeds that are best with children – some of us dogs are just better with kids than others, and sometimes our breeds (or mixes) can play a role in that. For example, tiny dogs like Prestley are often more territorial over food, toys and their owners. He’s also more likely to be hurt by a small child. These are fairly common characteristics of his breed. If you do your research and know what you’re getting into with each dog breed or mix, there won’t be any surprises once your pup comes home! SelectSmart.com offers a great quiz to help you choose the dog breed that’s right for you.
2. Try to gauge the temperaments of each dog – once you’ve narrowed down a breed, mix or category visit some dogs and gauge their temperaments. Energy level is especially important. If you have small kids at home, you might not be prepared to take a high energy dog (like me!) out walking for 2 or more hours a day. You may also find that a high energy dog creates more chaos in the house than you’d like. Think about what dog temperament will fit into your family best. There can be common characteristics among the same breeds, but this isn’t guaranteed, so you’re the best judge while spending time with the dogs!
3. Bring your children to meet the dogs – once you’ve already found one or more dogs that you’re considering bringing home with you, take your kids for a visit. Let them interact and see how the dogs respond to your children. Does being near them make them aggressive? Territorial? Hyper? Calm? Happy? How a dog will interact with your kids is essential to know since safety and comfort in the household come first. Of course, you never want to leave a dog alone with young children just in case!
If you keep the tips above in mind, you’ll make the right choice when adopting your new family member into his/her furever home. It won’t be long before you find that your children have a new best friend, either!
For more information about choosing a dog for your kids, check out this great article at VeterinaryPartner.com.
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