There’s nothing quite like a child and his first dog. Not only are dogs loyal, empathetic and wonderful companions but they also teach your child responsibility and administer massive doses of unconditional love. Also, children and dogs seem to fit together naturally and can often form a lifelong bond that is even stronger than one might imagine. As parents, however, it can be extremely hard to choose the right dog for your child. There are so many different breeds and temperaments to choose from that simply going to the pet store and choosing the cutest “doggie in the window” may not be the best option. In this article, we’ll provide you with some tips on choosing the best dog for you and your child.
First of all, you must understand that owning a dog is a huge emotional and financial responsibility. Dogs require a lot of care, and although your child will likely assist, it will ultimately be up to you (the parent) to properly care for the new canine family member. So, be prepared to handle the majority of your new dog’s care.
Second, it is critical to involve your child in the selection process. Make choosing a dog family affair, and all family members should research dog breeds and temperamental traits. In fact, everyone can conduct online research or take a family trip to the local library to research dog breeds. Another option is to ask your local veterinarian or shelter for recommendations. Get your time and research well.
Third, make sure that the dog’s temperament matches your child’s personality. For instance, if you have a rambunctious child, you should never pair him with a shy dog. On the same token, you should never match a shy child with an aggressive dog. By carefully matching temperaments, you set the stage for a positive human/canine relationship to develop without strife or strain.
Fourth, purchase or adopt a dog that has been properly socialized and enjoys being around children in the past and tolerates them well. In fact, an older dog that is familiar with the kids might be a right choice. Also, you should consider having your dog temperament tested. During this type of exam, your dog is put through various kinds of tests to determine his attitude. This testing can be done at the shelter, or you can hire someone which will ensure that your selected dog does not have aggressive tendencies.
Fifth, visit any prospects at different times and try to change his environment. For instance, if you typically visit him in the shelter, ask if you and your family can take him on an isolated walk or spend time in a separate room. This will help you evaluate the dog’s temperament at different times and help you determine if he will make a good match. Each time, bring along your child and let him interact with the dog as well which will provide you with a clearer idea of how the chosen dog might respond.
Sixth, encourage your child to respect all dogs at all times. For instance, you should teach your child not to play tug-o-war with a dog or other aggressive games because that type of behavior might encourage the aggressive canine behavior. Also, you should teach your child never to bother a dog when the dog is eating. Lastly, you should teach your child that dogs have a natural tendency to bite when startled or frightened and that they must try hard not aggravate or scare dogs.
In conclusion, dogs and children make excellent companions. As parents, however, it is important that you take your time in selecting the perfect dog companion. By carefully following the above tips, you will find the perfect dog for your child and you!