family time
 
Family Pets:
The Right Breed Of Dog For Your Family

Adding a dog to your family can teach your kids unconditional love and responsibility. Kids and dogs can be a wonderful combination when the whole family is ready for a new addition and some thought goes into selecting the breed of dog that will best suit your family’s life-style.

Each breed of dog has been bred for certain physical and mental characteristics in order for it to perform a given job. Families MUST take these traits into account before they fall in love with that adorable ball of fluff. Most of the problems that families experience are due to a mismatch between the family and the dog. The family either has the right breed from the wrong breeder or the wrong breed entirely. No amount of training can compensate for genetics, so a proper breed selection is imperative.

Consider each of these important questions before choosing:

  • Does shedding matter?
  • Is size an issue?
  • Are you an active group, or a group of couch potatoes?
  • Are you looking for a protector as well as a family companion?
  • Are there other pets at home?

A dog’s need to exercise is a major factor that families need to address in order to find their ideal canine companion. Be honest and realistic when you discuss how much time you will devote to exercising your dog. Lack of exercise ranks high on the list of reasons that dogs become destructive and difficult to live with. A tired dog is a good dog! The medium to large breeds need to run in a safe area, every day, in all weather. A walk around the block is not sufficient for a dog to blow off steam or to use muscles meant for the twelve hour workday we have bred them to work. You need to determine whether you can commit to running them day in and day out for the next ten to twelve years. If not, you should consider a very small or very large dog with less demanding exercise needs. Ask yourself: Are your kids gentle enough for a tiny dog? Are you prepared to teach a 130 lb. gentle giant not to pull you down the street?

Reputable breeders will be honest about whether your family and their breed will be a good match. They care who is buying their puppies and will ask questions about your home and family. Breeders should have certificates stating that their dogs are free from the serious diseases and conditions that are common in their breed. They should also have dogs for you to meet and, if possible, puppies to play with. Because genetic traits are hardwired, try to meet as many related dogs as possible.

Finally, take your time in choosing! The right breed dog from the right breeder can mean the difference between happiness and heartbreak.



Patty Amato is a professional dog trainer who specializes in working with families. She lives in Cheshire with her husband, two children and five dogs.

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