Do Your Children Want a Dog?

Millions of Americans own a dog, and a substantial portion of this number are families. Children enjoy having a dog for a best friend, and many have found them to be desirable due to their loyalty and enthusiasm for activity. While children should not be expected to raise or completely take care of a dog, they can learn about accepting responsibility by related chores. This could include making sure the dog has food and water, or to guarantee that Fido gets to the bathroom several times per day. Grooming is an excellent possibility for small children, and can be done periodically with parental supervision. Showing your children how to care for an animal, and taking them to the veterinarian, can display how important health care is as well.

Picking a dog is similar to selecting a car, because it is important to find the right fit. Just like automobiles, there are hundreds to choose from. Important aspects could include size, dietary restrictions, health, activity level, and temperament. The last one is essential, as children are known for “rough housing”, which might sometimes include the family pet. You do not want a dog that is susceptible to nervous biting, or for herding little ones as if they were sheep on the farm. While it is enjoyable to watch a cattle dog nipping at livestock, you do not want your children to have bite marks on their ankles.

There are plenty of dogs to choose from, but the best three for families include the Boston Terrier, Labrador Retriever, and the American Pit Bull Terrier. These dogs have proven themselves consistently, to have the proper temperament around children. While parental supervision is necessary at all times, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of these breeds. The Boston Terrier is the smallest, and weighs in usually between 15-27 pounds. They are unbelievably small as puppies, so make sure that they are not stomped on during this vulnerable time. Boston Terriers have beautiful black and white coats, which have been described as tuxedos by many. Their short hair is low maintenance, but be sure to always insure that they are not exposed to temperature extremes for long periods of time. This dog has a lot of energy, but they are not hyper and they do not make a lot of noise. They love children, and there is nothing more enjoyable for them than to play a game of catch in the backyard. Guests will appreciate being welcomed by this dog, which also includes a burglar, since these dogs provide no level of protection whatsoever.

Labrador Retrievers are canine athletes, so if you own one, do not expect your dog to be satisfied with a walk around the block like a Boston Terrier. This dog requires at least two mile romps daily, and off leash activity is recommended to wear them out. Labs are puppies until four to five years of age, and their constantly wagging tails can knock items off a table. This is an especially good dog for active families, who enjoy spending time hiking or water activities. If you have a pool, be careful, as these dogs are known for sneaking in. Bred for retrieving ducks and geese, they will be happy to play fetch for hours. Labradors will take an incredible amount of abuse from children, and having grown up with them, I can attest that my little brother pulled on one of our labs tail constantly. All the dog did was kiss him, and allow him to do this and climb all over her. They are sweet dogs, and they will try to sleep in the bed with you. Everyone is their friend, and if you have a guest, you can guarantee that your dog will be quite interested in them.

A lot of people cringe when they hear about American Pit Bull Terriers. They have a reputation of being vicious, and for causing injuries and deaths to animals and people. Sadly, some unscrupulous breeders have developed some of them to be aggressive, which has resulted in this bad image for this wonderful dog. Pit Bulls love people, and are great family dogs, while providing a substantial level of protection. They have always rated among the highest in temperament testing, and in how they react and respond to children. Their high pain tolerance allows for children to play rough with them, and their kind spirit makes them a friendly animal in most households. The only caveat is that most of them do not like other dogs, due to their background as a fighter. Do not allow this dog to be off leash, because the majority of them will try to establish immediate dominance over any animal. With that being said, this dog enjoys hikes in the woods, and is quite active. While it does not require high mileage runs to be happy, like the Labrador Retriever does, it would be wise to give it a couple of daily walks. They love people that they know, and while accepting of others, they do protect the house decently.

There are plenty of dogs to choose from, and another breed might be best for your family situation. These three dogs are among the best, in how accepting they are of children and family situations. I like each of them for their distinctive characteristics, and how patient they are with little ones. The key to finding a good example of each breed, is to do your research, and to find an established breeder who is dedicated to producing a puppy who is well socialized and of healthy genetics. Training is necessary for each, so be sure to enroll your dog into “Puppy School” and to introduce them to many people and different environments. Just like your children, all dogs require love, discipline, and dedication. While the early days of puppy hood can also cause a lack of sleep and frustration, they are crucial because you want your other child to be well behaved as well.