Which Dog Is Right For Your Family?
"We've been shopping around for dogs and we're really not quite sure what kind of dog would fit our family," the Maley family tells Rachael. So David Muriello from Biscuits & Bath (where Isaboo goes to doggie day care) helps this family of five make the big decision about which pup would make the best fit.
While Rachael bribes the dogs to behave with liver biscotti, David shares the pros and cons of these five popular breeds:
Border collies were bred to work so they require a ton of physical activity and mental stimulation. They are very intense and confident, and just may end up herding children. These dogs work well with people who are very physically active and spend a lot of time outdoors, like bikers or runners, who can run this dog around.
If you're using a breeder, it's always a good idea to research someone's reputation, especially when you're looking into a popular breed like a beagle. They're a good choice because they're hearty, funloving and easy to train if you use their favorite motivator - food! Many will enjoy chasing and romping with kids. A beagle's sense of smell is so strong that you may have a hard time getting their attention once they're interested in a scent, so fenced-in yards are recommended. One note of caution: they can be difficult to house-train.
Shih-Tzu and Westie
Westies are fiesty. These dogs aren't the most tolerant of kids' romping and ranting; some will hide, others may snap and they definitely need a decent amount of exercise. They also have a tendency to bark.
Shih-Tzus are calmer but they're also a little more fragile so they might not work well with really young kids. They're also more independent-minded so they won't necessarily listen at every turn, but they're a great all-around companion dog.
Golden retrievers are an even more popular breed than beagles so the same rules apply about doing your homework if you're using a breeder. They're great with families but they are very exuberant dogs, so with a toddler, their jumping and knocking into things can be a little much. Golden retrievers generally have an easygoing personality and are very tolerant of all kinds of people, including kids. They will need a lot of exercise though, so get out your tennis ball. They are born with the desire to play fetch all day!
Additional tips from David:
Socialization is key with other dogs and with people. Expose your dog to other dogs and children at an early age -- before 12 weeks is the ideal time.
Don't pick your dogs based on looks. Be realistic and choose a breed that's best for your family.
Young dogs need more exercise and stimulation than older ones. If not exercised properly, dogs are more likely to get into trouble with destructive behavior, biting during play, yard-escaping, etc. Know the exercise needs of your breed and plan that into your schedule before bringing a dog into your life.
Take your dog to a positive-reinforcement based training school.
Things to ask yourself when looking for the right dog:
- How much time do I have to exercise the dog?
- How much room do I have?
- How old are my children? The younger your children are, the more supervision you'll have to do.
- Do I want a dog that could be tracking dirt all over? A golden will jump in a puddle and then on the couch in two seconds.
- Do I want a puppy or should I think about adopting an adult dog? You never know what you're going to get with a puppy. You'll can never fully know its personality until you raise it. When you adopt an adult dog, you already know it's temperament, like how is he with people, kids, etc. and it could already be house-trained.
So what do the Maleys decide?
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