Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to Pick Out the Perfect Puppy for Your Children

Deciding to get a pet is a big step. Puppies are a great choice, but there are several things to consider before you choose which puppy you want—especially if you have children. Letting children pick the puppy isn’t always a good idea, simply because children tend to just pick the cutest or the puppy that likes them the most. Instead, take time to do your homework so you can decide what puppy will be best for your family.

What Kind of Puppy?

The first thing to do is decide what sort of puppy you want. Different breeds of dogs yield different activity levels, natural instincts, and full-grown size, among other things. If you have children, it’s usually best to pick a dog breed that yields a medium activity level, tolerates lots of affection and attention, has a gentle temperament, and is easy to train. Some good dog breeds that are loyal, can tolerate a little rough handling from children, and are affectionate dogs themselves are golden retrievers, Irish setters, Labrador retrievers, beagles, and mixed-breed dogs. Information about different breeds and their personalities can be found here.

Exercise and Grooming

Along with temperament, different breeds of dogs need certain amounts of exercise and grooming. Very active dogs need lots of exercise (up to four walks a day), so you have to decide if you and your family will be able to adequately take care of your pet. If you have a very active family, but you choose a very low-activity puppy, your pup will have a hard time keeping up. In addition to exercise requirements, you must be able to groom your pet properly. Long-haired dogs usually require more grooming and are more likely to cause allergic reactions. Make sure your children aren’t allergic before picking out a puppy, and make sure your family will be able to adequately care for it.

Is Adoption an Option?

Another decision to make before picking out a puppy is to decide whether to buy it from a pet store or adopt it from a shelter or a rescue organization. Usually, it’s better to adopt, because the shelter generally has a better idea of the puppy’s background and where it was born. Workers in shelters generally become attached to the animals, so they know a lot about them and what their temperaments and tendencies are. Also, adopting puppies from a shelter is a way to forge a connection of trust between your family and your new pet. Many pets get euthanized every year, simply because not enough people adopt. By adopting, you’ll save a life. It’s also cheaper to adopt, because the shelters provide medical attention to their animals, so you’ll save on medical expenses.

Interaction with Children

The final step in the process of picking the perfect puppy is to see how it interacts with your children. Take your children along with you to see and observe if the puppy responds well to the attention your children give, and vice versa. If the puppy is too energetic for your children, they might get scared. By observing how the puppy interacts with your children, it’ll be easy to tell which one is the right fit for your family.

Diane Johnson writes about several topics including travel, minimalism and online courses.

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