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Our oldest daughter is nearing four years old and is beginning to express interest in getting a dog. My wife and I grew up with dogs but we have always leaned towards having a pet-free home. For those who have dogs, talk about the pros and cons to having a dog as a pet. What breeds are best to have around young children?
Caring for another being in this world and learning about responsibility and just two of many positive reasons to adopt an animal. I think it's very important that you and your wife spend a good amount of time researching what kind of dog to get though. I would start by doing some research on breeds, and then think about how each breed personality would fit into your family and your lifestyle.
One thing that animals do is teach kids about thinking about and caring for something other than themselves. Having a feeding, walking, grooming, training, cleaning up after, ect schedule and having each child take a role in the care is teaching them more than words ever can.
The other thing is that a lot of counties have dog 4-H programs. I'm not sure if you are familiar with 4-H, but it is a wonderful program for children once only available for farm settings, that has now moved into the cities for kids with domestic animals. I have a patient that does dog 4-H and it has helped her with social skills, goal setting, record keeping, public speaking, and on, and on.
These are just two of the many benefits that I see.
So far as selection, when my parents finally agreed to adopt a dog we did a lot of research about breeds. We read books, articles, talked to breeders and other people that owned the breeds we were interested in. We ended up adopting 2 grown shetland sheep dogs from a sheltie rescue organization. They were 2 yo and 6 yo at the time. Those dogs fit into our lives beautifully and now 20 years later my parents still have shelties.
Let us know how your search goes!
Before getting a dog, it is important that both you and your wife actually WANT a dog. No matter how much the kids want them, it is usually the parents who get stuck taking care of it. My sister and her husband got a boxer for their 1 year old because he expressed an interest in dogs...only to find themselves selling the dog to another family a year later!
If you do decide to get a dog, make sure you discuss whether you want a large breed, medium size breed, or small breed. While small dogs do have some advantages (smaller mess, etc), large dogs can make wonderful family pets as well. Also look into Poodle mixes if you or your children have any allergies.
Good luck on choosing a dog, and let us know what you ultimately decide.
I LOVE dogs. That being said, we have chosen to be pet free at the moment. We had a dog when my son was born - a black lab. He is now with my husband's parents on their farm. These dogs are some of the most easy going and loving dogs around. However, I still felt badly because we didn't get the dog out to exercise as much as we'd like and were so busy with our son that we didn't pay a ton of attention to him. Another aspect that was rough was that we rent apartments and houses and if we wanted to move, we were very limited in the places we could look at because many places did not allow a dog as big as ours. If you end up getting a dog, I'd be sure to research your breeds really well and get one that is not hyper-active and needing TONS of activity, one that is very even tempered, and slightly independent. You don't want a dog that can't function without you there next to it all the time. Good luck!
I think the issue is that we really aren't ready to have a dog :(... this breaks my heart for my girls, but I think we are going to wait until they can deal with a dog more responsibly. We simply don't have the time to take care of a dog properly at present. Anybody have a pet rock?