Dogs and kids are a classic pairing, but fostering a healthy relationship between kids and animals requires special care. From finding your new dog and planning for its expenses to keeping it healthy and active, there is plenty to take into consideration.
The following resources were compiled to help you think of all aspects of dogs for kids.
Where to Find a Dog
How to Find a Shelter Dog: Adopting from the shelter is a great move, but some dogs do not fit well with children. Learn how to find a shelter dog that works for you.
Finding a Dog Rescue: Many rescues work to find homes for specific breeds. If you’ve always wanted a certain breed, check for local rescues.
Avoiding Bad Breeders: Bad breeders will overcharge for dogs who may be unhealthy and of poor temperament. If you go through a breeder, these signs show how to choose the right one.
Learning Dog Needs
The Cost of Dog Ownership: Dogs cost thousands of dollars per year, and unexpected vet bills can wipe out savings. Learn the true cost of dog ownership before getting one for your child.
Kids and Dogs: Start with knowing how kids should interact with dogs, including how to pet, how to play and how to speak “dog language.”
Dog Body Language: Learning what your dogs is trying to tell you can avoid aggression and even bites.
Choosing Dog Food: “You are what you eat” applies to dogs, too. A quality food will keep Fido healthy and help prevent some health problems.
How to Groom Your Dog: In addition to bathing, some simple grooming can be done at home to save money.
How to Socialize Your Dog: Socializing your dog is not just about interacting with people; it includes familiarizing them with sounds, sights and human behavior to avoid fear and aggression.
Going to the Dog Park: Learn about dog and human behavior to ensure everyone stays safe at the dog park.
Teaching Your Dog
How to Potty Train: There are many old-school methods to potty train that are considered ineffective and even cruel. The Human Society lists the most up-to-date methods.
Crate Training Your Dog: Using a crate not only prevents potty accidents but can keep your dog safe from chewing and swallowing dangerous things in the house.
How to Use a Clicker: From one of the world’s most well-known dog trainers, these 15 tips will help you train your dog to do nearly anything using a cheap clicking device.
Finding Classes: Professional training is great for all dogs, especially puppies. Most classes allow children over a certain age to assist in training the dog.
Learning Agility: Dog agility is like an obstacle course run with a human handler as guidance. There are junior leagues for kids to handle their dog during the course.
Learning Treibball: Another great dog sport, treibball is like soccer for dogs. Kids are welcome in most leagues to participate in training with the dog.
Here Are Our Additional Tips For Getting Dogs For Kids
Dogs can be fun, steadfast companions, but they’re also a lot of responsibility. Make sure everyone knows what their share of the work will be. Someone will have to agree to clean up after the dog, walk it, feed it and train it.
Consider getting pet insurance to soften the blow of expensive vet bills. Read the fine print and know what it covers and what it doesn’t. It’s best to set aside a small amount each month to prepare for the inevitable vet bills.
Dogs need physical and mental exercise and puppies even more so. Walking on leash and running in a fenced yard are a great start, but some breeds will need far more to keep them from being bored and, thus, destructive. Training tricks beyond “sit” can be a great tool to keep their brains tired. Many dogs can learn agility moves, dance moves or even to put their toys away in a box.
Choose your breed carefully. Their traits are fairly consistent, e.g., working breeds will need extra attention, and terriers tend to be very high energy. Do your research and meet dogs of that breed in person, if possible.
Teach your kids how to avoid dog bites. Most dogs are happy to tell us when they’re feeling uncomfortable, which can help us prevent bites—if we listen. It’s vital to not scold or punish a dog for growling or baring teeth, which is a dog’s primary warning signal. Just like a rattlesnake, the dog wants to tell you to back off before biting. If the dog growls at your child, teach them to immediately back off and let the dog have its space.
It’s also important to recognize that dogs do not have the same “love language” as humans. Hugs that are natural to children are overwhelming for most dogs, and getting close to their face may be seen as a sign of aggression. Similarly, when a dog kisses your face with its ears back, it often means they’re dangerously uncomfortable, not that they’re being affectionate.
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