Getting a dog is like getting another family member. Pets can be rewarding, but there are factors that need to be considered, especially if you have younger children. Here are the best dogs for kids, and some adoption options for rescue pets.
Never get a breed of dog because it is popular. Different breeds can feature particular traits and may need specific requirements. Research the breed you’re interested in and look at what dogs interact well with kids at your local park or at friends’ and family’s homes.
Generally, big- and medium-sized dogs are suited to families with younger children, as larger breeds tend to be more docile, but there are a few smaller breeds that also can make the perfect addition to your family.
Dog breeds that are good with children
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If you would like to adopt a certain breed, there are breed-specific dog adoption agencies. Also check out Facebook, as most breeds have their own Facebook groups.
Here are some breed-specific adoption agencies:
For smaller breeds:
Mixed breeds and rescue dogs
Don’t exclude mixed breeds as they can exhibit the best traits of each breed. Adopting a dog also provides a pet with a forever home.
Visit your local SPCA’s website or google “pet adoption (your area)”.
READ MORE: Introducing your baby to the family pet
Tips on introducing toddlers to dogs
If you have a baby or toddler and are considering getting a dog, here is some advice to ensure they get along.
Toddlers are likely to pull tails, grab dog toys, and interact with your dog in ways it may not be used to. It is important to prevent this behaviour by doing the following:
- Teach your toddler how to pet your dog. Show her that dogs like to be petted on their heads and stroked on their bodies, enjoy belly rubs and that the tail is a no-go zone. Practise this daily and reward appropriate behaviour.
- Only allow your toddler and pet to interact when supervised. Install baby gates to keep your pet and toddler separate. This way they can still see each other, but also have their own space.
- Be vigilant. Most dog bites occur between children and animals that they are familiar with. If your dog starts to behave unusually and your toddler is annoying it, intercept immediately. Dogs only have so much patience, and if pushed to their limits, will snap or bite.
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