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Tuesday Training Byte: The Problem of having Dogs and Kids

Having a dog for the kids to grow up with is the idyllic American life. Or is it? Getting a pup so the kids can learn responsibility can be a mistake. Perhaps start with goldfish and see how reliable the kids are to feed the fish and clean the fish tank. Having kids get their first experience of responsibility on a living creature can end in disaster. The responsibility inevitably ends up falling to the parent. Pups learn best with a schedule and consistency. Another issue is that many breeds have a somewhat high prey drive. Children's behavior quite often is that of "prey" (jumping, running, squealing, flailing their arms) and this brings out the predator instinct of the pup: chasing, jumping & knocking over, and nipping/biting the kids. In other words- the kids are just being kids and the dog is just being a dog, but it doesn't end well. There are a few breeds that have a low prey drive such as a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Papillon, Pomeranian, Havanese, French bull dog, and so on. These dogs are smaller and tend to be bred to be companions and lap dogs. While this might not be what you had in mind, it might be a better fit. Another option is to adopt an older, trained dog that is less likely to need continual supervision. If you have active grandchildren coming for a visit, set up a crate in the master bedroom for your dog and provide the dog with a long-lasting treat for chew toy while the kids visit. Be the advocate for your dog and insist children follow the rules around the dog (do not act like prey!) or there should be no interaction. With proper supervision, kids and dogs can get along.

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