You always see in the movies people who grew up with their dog they had the puppy as a baby. It’s very nostalgic, even car commercials imply that puppies growing up with kids is the best. However, the reality of it is posted all over the chat groups online about how toddlers don’t like being bit by puppies’ razor sharp teeth. Or that their paws and nails scratched the kid and the kids are now afraid. The reverse is just as common where the dog has become afraid of the kid because the kid pulls hair, hits hard and screams a lot.
I am not saying don’t get a puppy, or don’t have a dog with kids. But I am saying know the whole picture and have reasonable expectations. Keeping track of a kid and all their toys is one thing. Adding a puppy and keeping track of where they go to the bathroom, what toys they are stealing and what they are getting into is another thing. You put them together and you add making sure that when the kid and animal are together that there is no hitting, no biting and pleasant interactions are taking place. So your job triples. You are not only training your child how to respect an animal but you are teaching the animal to respect your child. This is not easy and all the posts online support the real struggle.
Pick a breed of dog that is most appropriate for your lifestyle. If you do not walk regularly on your own, you are likely not going to walk a dog when you get one. If you are the kind of person that leaves things everywhere, then the dog will find them. If you think your house is puppy proof… they will prove you wrong. Even the chair leg is not safe from puppy teeth.
I can’t tell you how many posts I read a day about puppies chewing things they are “not supposed to” and my only thoughts is, “Why is the dog unattended?” You may say, “Well I can’t watch them every second.” And I will always respond - if you can’t watch them they need to be in a 100% safe environment with only the items they ARE allowed to chew. This can be a kennel, a pen, a room. But remember, your carpet or linoleum is still a chew toy to them, even the trim on the wall, or a wall corner. It takes training for them to know what is and is not ok to chew. A simple no for an inappropriate item and handing them an approved toy is a great way to start. But if you are not watching or they are not in a dog safe space you can’t get mad at them for finding something to chew on. Chewing is as natural to them as breathing.
It is always suggested that you enroll in puppy training classes or work one on one with a trainer. People are not born knowing how to train an animal, so don’t risk your relationship with your dog, work with a professional. Kennel training is a very common thing. It is not cruel, you put your kid in a crib to sleep or a safe holding device when you have to turn your attention to something else. Kennel training is no different. In fact dogs appreciate a nest or cave that they can call their own. It gives them not only a safe place where they can chew and sleep. It gives them a “room” to go to when they want to be alone and escape the action. This should also be a place where the kids are not allowed to bother the dog. Even putting it in a room that is away from major house traffic.
Kennels are not just for puppies. The older dogs like their own space and if you are adopting an older dog that isn’t familiar with your rules of the house it’s the best way to make sure they are protected from themselves.