How To Choose The Right Dog For Your Family
Finding the right dog that fits in with your family and your lifestyle is both crucial for the well-being of the dog you choose and for the well-being of yourself and your family.
Mismatched, or impulse bought puppies grow and grow fast and many of these poor dogs end up on death row, over populating thousands of shelters all over the world and through absolutely no fault of their own.
Below is some advise on choosing the right dog breed for you and help ensure that your dogs(s) and you and your family can enjoy a wonderful, companionable life together.
I also highly advise you read my article Things To Think About Before Getting A Dog – Can You Afford A Dog – Where Is The Best Place To Get A Dog From- Shelter, Breeders & Rescue Groups
How to Choose the Right Dog Personality For You
Adopting a dog requires a lot of care and thought, be sure to research the many different breeds of dogs and know their individual needs and traits, make sure you pick the “right breed” of dog for you and for your family.
Many dogs get adopted by well meaning people, only to end up a few short months later back in the pound or in their foster home because they were misbehaving, barking too much or they required too much work and effort to look after.
You need to ask yourself the following and answer honestly before picking a certain dog breed, as different dogs have different needs;
Before Getting A Dog Answer This Questionnaire Honestly
1. How much time can I devote to walking my dog each day and playing with it?
2.How much time will my dog be left alone?
3. Do I have time to properly train and socialize a puppy?
4. Which dog is suitable to where I live; e.g apartment, small backyard, house, farm etc ?
5. If you have young children then which dog is best with children?
6. Can I afford to keep a dog and which size dog e.g food and health care?
Let’s look at a couple of scenarios below…
- If you do choose to adopt a Pug, you need to be willing to accept that your dog may require a lot of medical assistance, so can you afford this? Pug’s do not cope with heat at all, so can you keep your dog inside where it is cool on hot days?
- If you adopt a working dog such as a Kelpie or Border Collie, can you provide it with at the very least an hour a day of exercise and are you able to give it plenty of stimulating activities that breeds such as working dogs require to be well adjusted and balanced dogs.
- Want to adopt a Husky or Malamute, then you need to be home a lot, or take them with you when you go out, as these dogs hate to be left alone.
- Adopting a Maltese, Poodle or other non-shedding dog? Are you willing and can you afford to take it to be clipped and groomed regularly. Shelters receive countless numbers of these dog breeds who arrive with painfully matted coats, that need to be shaved down to the skin.
- Adopting a puppy, that is great but.. puppies need their people to be home and with them a lot. Puppies require obedience training, lots of attention, play and gentle disciplining, if not much like a child of 2 or 3 years of age who isn’t getting enough attention, they will become naughty and often destructive and develop undesired behaviours e.g. peeing all over the house, barking incessantly, biting, destroying objects in reach around the house and digging.
Which Dog Breeds Are Good With Young Children?
Babies and young children should never be left unsupervised with a dog, no matter how good natured the dog is.
A dog is not human and if a child accidentally hurts it, a dogs natural reaction is to give a warning nip and this is fair enough. A dog can’t yell out as we would , “Ouch! stop you’re hurting me!”
I know the story of a gentle Labrador that was euthanized because a toddler jumped on him when he was fast asleep. The dog woke up with a fright and snapped around instinctively and accidentally took off the child’s ear. The parents no longer trusted him and so he was put down. This incident was not the dogs fault in any way, shape or form. Humans can also kick and hit if woken abruptly from a deep sleep, especially if from a bad dream. The dog was simply protecting himself.
Have you got babies and young children in the house? Then don’t get the following;
- A highly excitable and boisterous puppy or dog that is jumps all over you and is big enough to push over a small child unintentionally is not a good choice.
- A dog that is overly dominating, or shows aggression of any kind e.g food aggression should never be a choice around small children.
- A dog that is nervous and fearful a good choice to have around young children. Remember that young children are unpredictable and a dog doesn’t always know how to read their behaviour so you really need a dog with a well balanced, easy going & placid disposition.
- A tiny or fragile dog that could get easily hurt by your children, unless you have very gentle, calm children. Active and highly excitable toddlers and young children can unintentionally injure dogs such as Chihuahua’s, Italian Greyhound’s & Pomeranian’s.
- Large puppies and young adolescent dogs are too boisterous with small children and accidents happen
While each individual dog is different no matter what the breed, there are definitely some dog breeds that are considered better with young children than others and these are, Golden Retrievers, Pugs, Labradors, King Charles Cavaliers and Beagles, as these particular breeds are known to have placid and stable, easy going personalities and they tolerate young children’s antics better than some of the other more highly strung breeds.
Pedigree Select-A-Dog, is a very helpful tool when choosing the right breed for your family and lifestyle.
A great option when looking for the right dog to adopt into your family when you have young kids is to go through an animal rescue organization. Most animal rescue organizations, rescue dogs from shelters where they would be otherwise be euthanized, as they hadn’t been adopted and their placement time has run out. They place these dogs in a foster home, until they can find the dogs right forever home and they are very choosy her they allow to adopt the dogs.
Another option is Animal Re-homing organizations, these organizations help people find homes for their beloved pets when they can no longer keep them e.g moving overseas, houses, long work hours etc.
Both of the above options are good choices when you have young children, as firstly the dogs are living in a home environment and often with children, so the foster carers can get an idea of their temperament. Secondly most re-homing and rescue sites will first give you the dog on a trial period of a week or two to ensure that the dog is a good fit with your family and if not they will willingly take the dog back.
Dogs Need A Lot Of Attention & Company
Before you adopt a dog when you have young children, first honestly ask yourself, are your ready to have another member of the family who requires daily exercising, play, feeding and attention and if not, then maybe a dog is not a good choice of pet for you and your family right now.
Another very important thing to consider is whether the dog will be left alone in the house, or backyard for the best part of the day, if so, then we strongly advise you get 2 dogs. Dogs are pack animals and need to have constant companionship in order to feel safe, happy and secure. How would you feel if every day for years on end, you were forced to stay in your house for 8 hours a day and not allowed to talk to anyone, read a book, or watch TV ?? A dog alone with no company or stimulation becomes a dog with issues, creating unwanted and behaviours and a miserable dog and owner – end result dog often ends up in the pound!
Here is a list of same great organizations to adopt dogs from in Australia
PetRescue.com.au – list Animal Rescue Groups all over Australia, they have a huge list of Dog Rescue Groups and Dogs and Puppies for Adoption
The Lost Dogs Home
Save a Dog Scheme
TARS– The Animal Re-homing Service