For dog lovers, it’s often the big question : Do dogs and kids mix ? The answer, well, there’s no clear one.
Different breeds do have different temperaments, and within that, dogs in the same breed may differ in nature too. As with all aspects of parenting, the key is to do your research, ask for professional advice where needed (preferably before letting them loose on each other!) and always use common sense.
The best breeds
There are a number of dog breeds that have a reputation as great family dogs, with Labradors, beagles, bulldogs, golden retrievers and pugs being some of the most popular.
Do bear in mind that you should also consider if the dog is suitable for your lifestyle. An active dog that needs regular exercise and a large yard is obviously not a great option if you’re in an apartment, even if they are the most child-friendly dog around.
Before deciding on any dog, think not just about if the dog will be good for your family, but if your home will be good for the dog.
Any dog, regardless of their breed, does need to be trained (at least to some extent). Most vets run puppy training schools which are great for newly arrived pups.
If you are looking to bring home an older dog (we love rescue dogs), do ask for their profile before you commit. You want to find out if they are trained and if they have any particular traits you need to know about. A dog that is needy for instance, may suddenly become a lot more demanding when a baby arrives and they don’t have your full attention.
When dog comes first
Of course, if you already have a dog before your children have arrived, don’t despair if they aren’t high up on the list of child-friendly options. There are plenty of dogs that are absolutely fine with kids, even if they still prefer to curl up next to you.
If you do have any concerns about your dog’s behaviour, pre or post-children, do speak to your vet, to see if there is anything that can be done to calm the dog if needed, or help make a better transition to a family household. And if they do show signs of aggressive behaviour, it’s essential to seek professional advice immediately.
Kids and dogs can be great together, and there are plenty of benefits of bringing a canine friend into the family. An active dog will help the family stay active; children can learn to care for animals, and the unbounded loyalty and affection of a dog will never go astray.