Kids love pets! Pets are a great way to prevent loneliness, and encourage exercise in your children. They can also teach responsibility, though as the adult, you will ultimately be responsible for the pet. Although there are many choices for pets, many families decide to bring a dog into the family.
Having a dog to grow up with can be a fabulous opportunity for your children. However, not all dogs are a kid safe dog. Here are a few tips to help you select the perfect addition to your family.
1. Make a list of the traits you want in a dog
Are you looking for a dog that likes to run around outside? Do you want a large dog or a small dog? How active would your ideal dog be? Are there other animals in your home that the dog would be around at times?
What about fur—do you need a low-shed dog because of allergies? If you do not have a lot of time to devote to grooming a dog, a short-haired breed might be best.
Taking time, as a family if possible, to go over these questions will help to narrow your search for the perfect pet. Different breeds of dogs exhibit various traits, and by knowing what traits you are looking for, your search will go more smoothly.
2. Research dog breeds that meet those traits
If you are looking for a small dog due to space or a child’s fear of large dogs, you can automatically cross Labradors, Standard Poodles, and many other breeds off your list, while looking into Welsh corgis or beagles.
Likewise, if you need a dog that is more allergy friendly, a Maltese or a Bedlington terrier might be dogs to research.
As you start researching dogs, you will have your list for a starting point.
3. Find out which dogs on your list are the most family friendly
Not all dogs get along with kids. While each dog is individual, and there are always exceptions, some breeds are known for being friendly towards little ones.
Dogs who were bred to herd (like collies and Australian Shepherds) might try to herd small children, especially if they have no other outlet for their activity needs. However, they often do really well with older children.
The Newfoundland is known as the nanny dog, and might be a great choice for your family. Nevertheless, as a large dog, a good amount of space is needed for these loving dogs.
Golden Retrievers and Labradors are often recommended for families, but because of their activity level, they require a lot of time in play to burn off their energy.
French bulldogs are often compatible with older children, but would require close supervision with younger ones.
As you can see, there are many breeds of dogs out there, so spend some time doing your research before you buy.
If you cannot find a family friendly dog that meets your trait requirements, try connecting with an animal shelter. The workers there often excel at matching animals to the needs of a family. They might suggest some breeds you had not thought of yet.
4. Meet the dog face to face prior to buying
Regardless of where you buy your dog, meeting in person is essential when children are involved.
Even though there are some breeds that are known for being family friendly, every dog has a unique personality. Bring your children to meet the dog, and encourage them to spend a little time together before you bring the new pet home.
During this time, you can observe the behavior of both the animal and the children, and see if anything causes concern.
5. Teach your children to respect the dog
Even a kid safe dog can bite hard. When pushed and prodded past their breaking point, all dogs could snap. Do your best to prevent this by always supervising young children around the family dog. Leaving children and dogs alone together is asking for trouble. When you supervise, you can step-in immediately if the child starts to hurt the dog.
Teaching your child to respect animals, and treat them kindly, is an essential component of having a pet.
Bringing a dog into the home is a big responsibility. It’s also a lot of fun. Being prepared and selecting the right breed for your family will help make the transition to dog ownership go more smoothly.