It’s inevitable: your kids are going to ask you for a dog at some point! What do you say? You can’t give them an immediate answer since there is too much to prepare for before getting a dog.
However, if you eventually want to give in, then you need your kids to know how important it is to be kind to the dog, take care of it, and make sure it’s happy. Is your family ready to add a furry addition to the house?
In this article, we are going to take you step-by-step through the process of getting a dog, if you so choose. We hope you find help here and can make the best decision for your family.
Deciding What’s Best for the Family
Before you run around town trying to find the perfect dog, you should decide first if adding one to the family is a good idea. Will someone be home to take care of it? If so, are they responsible enough? If your dog is going to be home alone a lot and not given too much attention, then you may want to wait until your kids are older to get a dog.
As we adults know, getting a dog is a huge responsibility because it needs attention, love, and training. You have to treat it like a baby somewhat because it needs to eat, go to the bathroom, be played with and bathed. This is no easy task if the people in the family are not willing to step up and be a part of the dog’s life.
So you should take into account how much attention and alone time your dog will have before you make a purchase.
Your kids may want a pet so they can play with it, but do they know the true responsibility? Not only do dogs give you entertainment but they give you love and devotion, and can be true friends and family. Your children need to understand that a dog has a lot of needs, and it is not a toy to be played with when they are ready. Children need to be empathetic and understand that the dog is not for enjoyment solely.
If you know your kids are responsible enough that they will not neglect or hurt the dog, then that is just one step to being closer to dog ownership. You can prepare your children by letting them know what dogs can and cannot eat when it comes to people food. They need to learn how to measure out a dog’s kibble as well as what time to feed him or her. The children, if older, need to also locate the veterinarian’s phone number if an emergency occurs.
Relate to your children how dogs are like kids themselves and are a lot of work and need love and help. Teach them that dogs are to be touched gently, including hugs, because they can be easily injured, especially with puppies and older dogs. In doing so, your child’s brain can comprehend how important it is to care for a dog responsibly.
Choosing a Breed
So, you have come to an agreement and decided your children are fit enough to care for a dog. Now it is time to start looking into dogs. If you want a specific breed, there are many that are great dog breeds for kids! For example, Labrador Retrievers are great dogs, and are even service animals, due to their loving nature. This makes them one of the best dogs for kids, along with Golden Retrievers.
Boxers, Beagles, and Collies are also friendly pups who are great with kids and will give them lots of love and play! Many of these dogs are very smart so you can train them easily.
A few breeds you may not want to consider when you have smaller children include Chihuahuas, Chow Chows, Siberian Huskies and Dobermans. These dogs don’t have the right temperament for the most part and can nip at your child. Some of these breeds are also protective over their leader, and therefore won’t trust children or like them too much.
Getting a Dog
While it is suggested that you adopt a puppy, you can also choose a reputable breeder. You can do some research online about breeders in your area. Look into your local animal shelters too, and make an appointment to come in and see some of the dogs. Many shelters keep profiles of the dogs they currently have, so you can see photos and get a sense of who the dog is before you visit. Many shelters don’t ask you to make appointments to visit, you can just walk in and look around.
Before you get a puppy, you will want to make your home comfortable. If you know what breed you are getting, you can prepare for their homecoming by getting an appropriately sized dog bed, a bowl, collar, and some toys so they feel comfortable in their new home.
Before you go to pick your new puppy up, have a crate ready to transport him or her home, and put a blanket inside so they can feel safe.
Training Your New Puppy
You will want to find puppy pads and start teaching your puppy where to do his business. Set them on a food schedule and stick to it so they can have a routine in their new home. Be consistent, fair, and never yell at them, and they will soon learn what you need from them!
As you know, taking care of a new dog takes a lot of work, and some families simply cannot devote the time and energy into training and loving a puppy. Most kids are going to ask for a dog at some point, and you have to make sure they are not only serious about having a dog, but that they understand what it takes to have a dog as part of the family. Once they are ready, you will know, and you can begin the process on adding a new addition to your home!