The right dog can teach your child to care for another living thing, that they need food, access to fresh water, excercise, love and kindness. In return your child will receive unconditional love, a friend they can hug when they are feeling scared or lonely and someone who will be happy to join in silly games for hours on end without getting bored. There is no doubt about it, what a dog gives in return for fulfilling its basic needs are tenfold and can truly enrich your childs life.
It is however important to choose the right dog to fit in with your family, do you live in a flat or appartment? Do you have access to a garden or a park nearby to walk your dog? Will the dog spend a lot of time on their own? Will you have someone to look after your dog if you go on holiday? How active are you? How many hours do you have to walk your dog? Can you financially support a dog, vet bills can be expensive and while insurance can cover the cost of vet emergencies there are vaccinations, wormers and food to pay for?
Another very important consideration that is sometimes ignored is the age and temperament of your children. Young Children especially can be a little heavy handed if they are unused to pets, pulling them around and accidentally hurting them in their wish to cuddle or handle their new friend. Of course you can teach children to be more gentle, but you do need to think about the type of dog who would handle the pulling around without resorting to biting back.
Recently in a dog charity I support they received a Chihuahua into foster who had been taken to the vet to be destroyed for biting her young grandson. This poor dog had already been rehomed once from an unscrupulous breeder and clearly the home she had sold it to was not suitable. Thankfully the vet refused to put the Chihuahua to sleep, instead calling the charity and he is now receiving the love and care he needs – incidentally, the children in the foster home who are used to dogs, handled the Chihuahua without any issues whatsoever.
You should also think seriously about training your dog, certainly all basic commands like sit, stay, down should be insisted on, imagine your cute little puppy becoming a big lump of a teen and completely ignoring your commands! Not a pretty site and in some situations can be very dangerous for you and your dog. My friend recently got a border collie puppy, he is very good at learning commands however her husband tried to take a bone off the dog and got a nasty bite. I told her to insist on taking bones, toys and anything else the dog posesses away from him and then allowing them once good behaviour is shown. If you have a dog and don’t train them, it could – depending on the dog – be a big issue.
Too many dogs end up in rescues once the cute phase is over and the dogs bad habits start causing problems, so you owe it to your dog to have answered all of the questions in regards to the dogs care before you rush out the door to buy that gorgeous puppy you’ve fallen in love with.
So, what are good dogs for children? Here are our top 5.
- Cocker Spaniel
- Cross Breed (Mutt)
We love the Mutt, best of all – cross breeds are less likely to have health issues related to inbreeding purebreds, they come in all shapes and sizes and you are bound to find one that fits just about all of your wish list. Remember as well that there are thousands of rescue dogs that through no fault of their own end up needing new loving homes. Also, rescue staff are very experienced and can help you find that perfect dog – a great option if you are really unsure what type of dog will be best for your family.
We hope you have fun with your new dog, please feel free to post your favourite dog pics here.