Have You Chosen a Dog You Can Love?
For as long as I can remember there has been a dog around our home. We’ve had muts, dogs with long pedigrees, rescued dogs, and dogs we’ve looked after while other members of the family were away on holidays.
The purpose of this article is to flag some issues a potential dog owner needs to think about when introducing a pup into a home where there are small children. I start from the belief that dogs and children go together like a horse and cart. However, because of a child’s unpredictability there are, however, a few issues that need flagged.
Not every dog is suitable for a child and equally not every child is suitable for a dog! From my observations most of the problems arise with children under the age of six. If you are thinking of taking a dog into your home when you have children of this age then you must think long and hard before making the decision.
My main concern would be with large dogs. The majority of larger dogs have been bred as guard dogs, or have a history of aggression, they are generally high-energy dogs and if excited may well knock children over.
Parents with a small family are generally very busy people, more so if it’s a one parent family. Question. Have you the time to look after a high maintenance dog like a Dachshund?
Here is a smallish dog, they’re comical and entertaining and don’t really need a lot of exercise. They also socialize well with people and other family pets and have a long life span.
But the longhaired variety will need constant brushing and combing, and both it and the smooth variety shed more hair than you might think. They also tend to have a ‘distinctive odour,’ which may be unacceptable around children. From a vetenary view point an alarming number become crippled or paralyzed in middle age due to disk disease in their long backs.
Now I’m not knocking the Dachshund, it is a lovely animal, I’m using it by way of illustration with and asking would this fit in your families lifestyle?
It’s not my intention to make recommendations because every family situation is different; what is right for you may not be right for you next door neighbor!
Now you’ve carried out your research, the next step is to gather up the essentials and puppy-proof you home. Your puppy is going to need a place his own space, a cage or crate will fit the bill. Purchases one that is big enough for him to use as an adult.
The pup will need food and water bowls, toys to chew on and play with, a collar and leash, a bag of a good quality dry puppy food, and plenty of newspapers!
When the puppy arrives try and insure it has some settling in time, a day or two, before the children play wit it. Set down rules for the children and ensure they stick by them. I strongly recommend that a dog is not allowed to sleep in the bed with children, it can cause medical and behavioral problems.
Its vital that you teach your children how to treat the dog, plan on spending lots of time training the dog and the children. A dog is for life so spend the time now to avoid difficulties in the future.
Educate yourself. Buy and read training books: consider enrolling your puppy in an obedience class. Well-trained dogs are a joy to be around and a requirement when children are involved.
A common worry for parents is how a dog will react when a new baby comes along. This is a major subject in its own right but generally speaking most family dogs do not react badly. Like the other children they will be curious and may feel left out but these feelings soon pass.
Problems start when the baby becomes a toddler it’s then both toddler and dog get in each others way! My personal opinion is that by this time the dog will have come to know and accept the child and will even be protective towards it: but safety must come first, I recommend, not separation, but keeping them apart as much as possible.
Like all things to do with dogs a little common sense goes a long way and if you know your dog there should be few problems.