Introducing a furry member to a new family with young children or toddlers can be an important as well as fun experience.
Family pets provide a close companion and create a special bond that children will remember the rest of their lives, as well teach them a sense of responsibility.
Finding the right dog is a serious decision for families, and there are many considerations to take into account.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing your family’s pet dog:
1) Getting size right
Many people believe that a small dog will be safer for young children to play with however small dogs can feel more vulnerable and can react unpredictably amongst children by aggressive biting if they feel threatened.
Larger dogs are generally more docile with children and the safest option is often to select a dog with some history of being familiar with how small children play.
Smaller dogs can also be injured more easily by young children who are rough on them.
2) Think about your new pet’s maturity
It can be tempting to purchase a puppy that will mature with your young children as they grow, however it is important to consider that unlike adult dogs, puppies take up more time and attention. This can sometimes add undue stress on new families. Make sure you think about the commitment involved with taking care of a new puppy and whether that workload is manageable with the demands of the family.
Consider speaking with your doctor about various pet allergy tests and check if anyone in your family has a history of pet allergies. A hypo-allergenic dog breed will be less likely to cause allergic reactions to members of your family.
What kind of companion do you want your child to grow up with?
Do you want an active dog that will encourage exercise for your children but require constant schedule of activity and ample space?
Or a loyal, dependent animal that can teach your young children responsibility and how to take care of a pet that will become a strong companion for them as they mature?
For children older than 5, consider your child’s personality and what kind of dog they would be most compatible with, and suit their own interests. Outgoing and extroverted children will usually prefer a dog with a similar personality, while more reserved children may enjoy the company of the opposite.
5) Making a group decision
Remember that your dog will become a brand new member of the family, so everyone should have their input and meet potential dogs together and then discuss which ones would be the most compatible with your lifestyle, living arrangements, family size and so on.
How did you select your family dog? Please share in the comments below.