Choosing a perfect dog for your family
by Cathleen Freeman
Oftentimes we parents dread the day when our little ones gang up on us with thier best pleading eyes and a question they may not realize the importance of: “Can we keep it?”
It is true that the pet sometimes chooses the person, though when you have the option, it is best to find one that suits the needs and lifestyle of your family, as well as provides you with a sense of safety. Safety that your children will not be hurt in thier innocent fun with thier new animal friend.
Dogs are simply one option for pets, but they are something that can easily be shared with the family as a whole; as opposed to a frog in a tank in one child’s room, or a bird that only likes a certain person.
There are factors children wouldn’t consider when looking at a dog to become part of the household. First, what is this dog’s temperment? Is it one of those that is ‘falsely advertised’, like the Dalmation? How much socialization training will the dog need to handle kids and thier friends fawning over it? Will it be easily angered in stressful situations?
Another important thing to think about when thinking of what sort of dog will create a happy relationship is how much time you and your other family members have to devote to caring for and paying attention to the animal. Do both parents work long hours while the children go to school and extra-curricular activities? ‘Working dogs’ like the German Shepherd require your time and attention. Many dogs will simply find something to do that you may not approve of if left alone all day; or even worse, act out in passive-agressive defiance of your abandonment. Dogs have feelings too, and some will not hesitate to eat your favorite slippers or stain your carpet if they feel they have been wronged.
Overall, there is more to choosing a companion than whether it growls or how cute it is. If you’re having doubts about a particular dog or breed, ask someone who knows. Your local animal shelter, a vetrinarian, or literature on the subject. To ensure a safe, enriching pet and owner relationship, a little research can go a long way.