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Adding A Dog to your Family at the Right Time
Is your Child Ready for a Dog?
Younger children and dogs
As a rule when a child is younger then six years old then it is better to get a dog that is at least 2 years of age. This is because of the following reasons:
Time and Energy: Puppies require a lot of time to train and socialize plus they also need a lot of supervision. Young children also need a lot of time and energy spent on them and need to be supervised especially really young children and you may not have a lot of time to look after them both.
Safety: Puppies are just like young babies and so can be hurt easily. A young and curious child could accidentally hurt the dog by hugging them too hard or by pulling on their tail. This could make the dog scared of children for life and you cannot have a dog scared of a child they are around a lot. You also don’t want an untrained puppy jumping up and hurting a young child either.
Rough Play: Puppies have both sharp teeth and sharp claws. Just as babies and toddlers use their mouth to check things out so do puppies but their teeth are a lot sharper then a babies. Puppies aren’t always trained at first and tend to jump up more. Jumping up on a much older child or adult won’t due any damage but if they jumped up on a younger child they could knock them over and hurt them. Because of the risk of injury to either the child or puppy then they must be supervised at all times.
Advantages of getting an adult dog: Adult dogs need less of your time and attention once they have gotten used to their new family. Adult dogs are easier to see how they interact with children. At animal shelters an adult dog may have a history which helps to know what age range they suit.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Getting A Dog at Differing Child Ages
Getting a dog when there is a baby in the house or introducing your newborn to a dog that is already in the house could be hard. Imagine having a newborn baby and a puppy at the same this would be very hard work. Imagine having a dog and then one day bringing home a baby and introducing them to that baby. The dog would most probably feel left out as the new baby would be getting all the attention with cuddles and could feel jealous. If you have a dog and a newborn (or an older baby) then you need to follow these helpful tips.
- Never leave the dog alone with the baby in a room together.
2. Keep the babies bedroom door closed so the dog cannot enter.
3. Don’t let your baby pull your dogs fur or do anything else to it that it may find upsetting. This could lead to the dog being scared of the child for life.
Another thing you should do to make sure there is a great relationship between your dog and your new baby is to make sure you pay lots of attention to your dog to help them be less jealous of the new baby.
Toddlers and PreSchoolers
Just as you need to watch dogs with babies you also need to watch them with toddlers and preschool children who are more on the move and can now chase a dog who may have had enough. Toddlers have no idea of the dangers of being around a dog and could treat the dog badly. Young children from the ages of 3-4 have less control of their anger and also of their impulses and could hurt a dog and not realize it. Young children this age should be supervised all the time around dogs whether they are your dogs or other people’s dogs.
Best Breeds for Toddlers
If you are thinking about getting a dog who will grow up with your toddler then you need to make sure it isn’t a small dog like a toy dog or a small breed dog.
You would think a smaller dog would be better but its not. The reasons are because your toddler could unintentionally hurt a small dog as smaller dogs are more nervous around small children who can often be unpredictable and the dog may then snap. Smaller dogs also don’t like loud noises or lots of activity and could snap or even bite if they felt threatened.
It would be better to pick a medium sized dog as they are more stable and have better temperaments. They are also less likely to be injured by a toddler who may be too rough.
Bigger dogs can also tolerate rougher play and noise that comes with having children. You should not get too large a dog as they could make a child feel threatened or accidentally knock the child over.