When is the Right Time to Get a Dog

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When is the Right Time to Get a Dog

by Marilyn Mackenzie

Have you ever seen a toddler running around holding a puppy by the neck, and grinning? Usually, the puppy is not as happy as the baby. While having pets is a great learning experience for a child, it has to be safe for the child and for the pet. So when is the right time to get a dog?

Deciding when to get a dog is not an easy decision. Nor is it one that is the same in every household.

For the young newlywed couple wanting to get a dog, there are many things to consider.

1) Will the couple have a child in the next year or two? If so, they should select a dog breed that is calm under pressure.
2) Will the couple wait three or four years to have a child? If so, the dog they select now should be one that will not exhibit jealous behavior when a child does enter the home and the family.

For a dog already established as part of the family, the animal needs to know that it is still loved and cherished is important once a new squirming baby arrives on the scene. If long walks were a routine before the baby arrived, maintaining that routine will be important. How one accomplishes that is a personal preference. There might be times when it makes sense to take the baby in a stroller, while walking the dog on a leash. At other times, it might be important for the dog to have its own walking or running time with one of its owners. The dog certainly will not be comfortable with a crying baby in the house if it is completely ignored once the new baby arrives.

Some people think it is a wonderful idea to have a new baby and a new puppy in the house at the same time so they can grow up together. But training a puppy takes time, and the baby?s schedule may not always mesh with the schedule of the young puppy. In no time, the baby will be crawling on the floor, and the growing puppy will want to romp and play. Watching both of them might prove to be a daunting task.

Is it a good time to get a puppy when the baby is walking? Perhaps not. That is when we find junior carrying a whimpering puppy around by the neck. Again, each one deserves love and care. Each one needs special attention. Acquiring a mellow older dog might work. It might not think that having its hair pulled is an invitation to jump and play.

Dogs make an excellent addition to any home, but knowing when is the right time for that addition is a tricky decision. Depending upon the disposition and personality of the child, it might make more sense to forego getting a dog until the child is old enough to understand that it is a living, breathing, caring creature.

Adding a dog to the family after a child is in preschool or elementary is often a great choice in timing. Even so, a young child should never be given sole responsibility for caring for the family pet. Most kids are not capable or mature enough to be being fully responsible for another living being until they are about ten years old. Even then, being called to play might take preference over feeding or walking their charge.

No matter what decision your family makes in the timing for acquiring a new canine family member, the selection process should include extensive research into the breed or breeds that make sense for your particular family. Certain breeds are known for being more family and kid friendly. One should never allow emotions and being overwhelmed by the sheer number of animals at the local shelter be the deciding factors in the selection of a family dog.

Marilyn Mackenzie has been writing about home, family, faith and nature for over 40 years. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pets.

Marilyn Mackenzie - EzineArticles Expert Author

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