A Dog for the Family 

Every child needs a dog with which to grow up.  It's a given that children and dogs do go together and when you have decided that it is time to get a family dog, one of the very first questions generally asked is what breed of dog is best?  This is a good question, but not the only one on which to focus.  After all, breed is only one thing that will determine whether a dog is a good match for your family.  Common breeds that are suitable for families include Labrador, Golden Retriever, Poodle, Australian Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel, English Bulldog, Boxers, Whippet, Bichon Frise, Beagle, Norfolk Terrier, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Having given this list of breeds as suitable for families, let's go back and talk about the other things that will determine whether a breed or even an individual dog is a good match for a family.  One thing to consider is that, just like humans, each and every dog has a unique personality.  The best way to know what the personality of the dog is is to ask the breeder.  You should always purchase a dog from a reputable breeder, one who is known to breed the best bloodlines, is constantly working to improve those bloodlines, and who offers fantastic care, socialization, and training for their young charges.  Not only will the breeder be able to tell you about the temperament of each dog, but will also be able to help guide you in a selection of an appropriate breed.

There are a number of other things to consider when choosing a family dog.  One is the size of the dog.  If you have small children, then it is wise to avoid larger breeds, no matter how easy a temperament they have.  Large dogs can easily injure a child, or even an elderly person, without intending to do so simply because they become excited and over-enthusiastic easily and can easily knock over young children and elderly family members.

In addition to the breed and temperament of the dog you get, you must also be sure to teach your children the boundaries that need to be set in terms of what type of behavior is acceptable around dogs.  This is especially important if you have young children.  Poking, pulling, jumping, and generally bothering a dog can cause the tamest of dogs to retaliate.  You must go through the rules and you must also show them how to act by example, letting your children see how you behave around the dog.

When it comes to bringing a puppy home you must be sure to begin the socialization and training process immediately.  While there would have been some socialization done with the breeder, puppies need to be socialized into their new environment as quickly as possible and that means ensuring they are exposed to the people, children, other animals, sounds and smells, and other aspects of regular life in your home.  You can also start obedience training right away.  Even starting out with the basic commands is good and all training and socialization should involve your children.

Here are some final tips on bringing home your new family dog.  Never leave the dog and your child alone together.  They should be supervised 100% of the time because no matter how tame a dog may be, none of them are 100% safe.  However, when you have researched breeds carefully, chosen your dog, and ensured that you are diligent in socializing and training your dog from the beginning, you can help your new family pet become an important part of the family.  You will also be giving your children a loving companion and someone who can help teach them about responsibility and respect for another living creature.  This will be sure to carry into their adult lives and give them a love of dogs that will last a lifetime.

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