It’s the same question that has sent many parents off the deep end. (perhaps it just makes me crazy, and the rest of you are more level headed. Perhaps there are even more dreaded questions out there…) I knew it wouldn’t be long before our kids asked us for a pet. They all do at some point. Luckily for me ours asked for a dog.
I like dogs, so it worked out for all involved. If they asked for a cat (or a lizard, snake, or rodent) I wouldn’t have been so willing to hear them out. If you decide your family is ready to bring a fido home and make him a part of your family, rest assured that I have some tips.
First thing to consider is breed. You will want to choose a breed that really fits your family. For example, good with kids, or other dogs, or other animals. And also a breed that fits your home life. If you live in a third floor apartment, perhaps that great dane is not really for your family. This really depends on your situation, but good go to breeds that generally love kids are labs and golden retrievers. That’s a generalization though.
Just like not all adults are “dog people” not all dogs are “kid friendly.” Purchasing from a reputable breeder will get you closer to your ideal dog. You will be able to see the parents of your puppy, siblings, and may even be able to contact others who have purchased puppies from them. A good breeder will encourage you to look into their past pups. They will welcome you to tour where their dogs live. If you find someone who doesn’t, run away. The actual dog should allow you to pet her, lift her paws, check her eyes to ensure they are clear (opposed to cloudy) and look in her mouth. If you find a dog that growls when you perform this inspection, I’d say she is not a fit for your family. Think about what kind of “inspections” a toddler might want to give a dog. Also pay attention to the parents. They should be friendly and easy going too. If they are, there is a great chance their puppies will be too. If you decide to rescue a puppy from the pound the inspection is the same.
Your biggest risk is that you cannot be sure of your pup’s temperament once fully grown.You might want to consider rescuing a slightly older dog from the pound. A dog around two or three years of age will most likely have their temperament already established. Not to mention, they will likely be done with the puppy teething stage.
Whatever dog you choose, be sure to invest in some quality training. A well behaved dog, is always cuter than an obnoxious one. Most importantly, be sure to give your new pup lots of love and you will be rewarded tenfold.