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Since having a dog is such a common thing, do you really need to know anything more than how much it costs?
Well, how did you choose your car, or your home? Did you consider the cost, safety and suitability for your family? Of course you did. If you heard stories of a particular car that was susceptible to causing accidents or that a neighborhood was known for its rough occupants you would find something that was safer.
If the car or home was too expensive to maintain, it would impact your decision, as would the size of the vehicle or how many bedrooms the house had.
However, many people bring home a dog that they have spent no more time in choosing than selecting oranges at the grocery store. Although we hear stories of dogs attacking children and perhaps know of people who got rid of dogs after they grew too large for the apartment or destroyed property, as a group, parents still choose to bring dogs into their families with little instruction or research.
The truth is, most families with a dog will never deal with the terrible situations we hear about on the news. Dogs love people. Most dogs love children. Children and adults love dogs and it is very doubtful that after thousands of years the connection between canine and humankind will be broken.
What does need to be considered is how to make the best possible environment for your children and dog so that you don't need to worry about unexpected tragedy or the sad disappointment of giving your children's pet away.
There are many experts with various views, but several points can be generally agreed upon when choosing a dog for your family.
Find a dog that is good with children.
Don't all dogs love children? The answer is simple - NO. Some breeds, and even individuals within a breed, are more or less tolerant of children and the rough handling that usually ensues. Selecting a breed that enjoys the rambunctious atmosphere of a family home will go far in ensuring that the children have a willing playmate and the dog is happy.
Choose a dog that is the right size or energy level.
Do you live in an apartment? Do you have a large, fenced yard? Considering the size of home or yard you have should influence your choice of dog. Some breeds are naturally larger than others. Some smaller breeds (like Jack Russell Terriers) are small but have an enormous amount of energy that can be difficult to control in a small home.
Decide on a trained or untrained dog.
Perhaps you plan to train the dog yourself. You may choose a puppy so the children participate in the training process. But how much do you know about training dogs? Are you ready for the hassles of housebreaking and obedience training? Perhaps selecting an older, trained dog might suit your family better.
The decisions you make before bringing your dog home and selecting the best dog breed for children will help your family enjoy their new pet for a very long time.
Shannon Emmanuel is a freelance writer and the author of 'How to Select the Best Dog or Puppy for Your Children'. Find out more about safely raising a family dog at http://www.best-dog-breed-for-children.com
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