CHOOSING A CHILD-FRIENDLY DOG FOR A FAMILY PET
Choosing a child-friendly pet, a new dog to introduce into your family is not a quick or easy decision. It is not like purchasing a new car, the dog will interact with your kids and most likely have a significant impact on your child’s formative years. There are some traits you should look for to make sure you get the right dog for your family’s needs.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
There are some traits which, if present, will make the process much easier on both the dog and the children. Look for a dog which is patient and also pretty tough. Children may have little hands, but they certainly aren’t gentle. You want a dog that will be able to take it all in its stride, without snapping at the young children and becoming aggressive.
Match the breed to your family’s interests and energy levels. If your children are at an age where they spend large amounts of time in front of the TV playing video games, an energetic dog will annoy the children and the dog will become bored and understimulated. Similarly, if you are an energetic family who enjoys long outdoor walks, find a dog which has the energy levels to keep up with your lifestyle.
Choosing a dog which can be easily trained also helps if there are young children around. You need a dog that will get the message very quickly that no means no. You can’t afford for any accidents to happen when there are children in the house. Finally, and above all, your dog needs to be friendly. This dog will likely become a good friend to your little ones and a friendly dog will be a friend to them for a long time to come.
MEET THE BREEDER AND ASK PLENTY OF QUESTIONS
Ask the breeder plenty of questions about the dog’s temperament and personality and if possible meet the dog’s mother and watch their interaction. If you are not set on getting a puppy, then consider what age dog you would prefer. A younger dog will have more energy, but will also require training, while an older dog might be more accustomed to families and children, but not so energetic and active.
GOOD CHILD-FRIENDLY BREEDS
There is a wide selection of suitable family breeds. Dogs like Basset Hounds make good family pets as they are lazy around the house, but their breeding for hunting makes them incredibly loyal and gentle. They can be a little difficult to train, so are better to be trained from a puppy.
Bulldogs are also excellent breeds for young children. They are robust and patient enough to handle a child’s rough play and are incredibly loyal dogs. They are not very active, so if you are looking for a bundle of energy to accompany you on long walks you might want to go for something else.
If you are looking for a larger breed, a Bernese Mountain Dog is the ultimate gentle giant and makes a welcome addition to any family. Their huge size makes them better for families with space and time to give them longer walks and more exercise.
Collies also make excellent family pets. They are easy to train and very mild with a love of affection and attention.
With a little research beforehand and by asking the right questions you can find the perfect dog for your family and give your children a companion that they can grow up with.
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