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I always get the question: “Should I get a dog for my kids?”¬† ¬† Well, we have four kids, two dogs, and one cat… and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A close up of a dog sleeping on the floor with text above him.

Here was our first puppy, Coach (we brought him home in 2014) 
A dog sitting in the grass with two children behind him.

It was a long journey, but a great one from the puppy stage to where we are now…
A white dog sitting on a porch.

Here’s our second sweet boy, Chance:
classic teenage boy bedroom before after
They are BEST friends… such sweet dogs!!¬† Chance came home in 2019.¬† Having an older dog was a good idea (although we didn’t know it at the time) because Coach (four at the time) was able to teach Chance all about how to behave.¬† ¬†They are both wonderful dogs.

MY TIPS: 

1- Pay for a good trainer.
We almost just did the PetSmart group class, but we decided to go with a trainer that my dad found and it was the best decision.  We found a local trainer it was amazing.  Coach is well behaved.  Plus, it seems that dogs teach other dogs since our puppy learned everything from Coach.  It is wonderful having a dog that just understands what we need from him in our busy family of six.

2- House Break them right away! I know it will seem CRAZY, but I trained our dog like I potty trained our kids.   He was housebroken within a week of coming home (we brought him home at 8 weeks, so by 9 weeks he was trained to pee outside).

3- Clean up any messes he makes. 
The only trouble that we had with him being housebroken was if we didn’t clean up the mess right away. ¬†¬†I would soak it up and then clean it with a cleaner. ¬†If you don’t find a good pet mess cleaner and clean it well, your puppy will think that he can pee¬†there every time.

A close up of a puppy standing next to a blue water bowl.

4- Use a large crate.  
Get a crate that is large enough to give your dog room to grow and room to walk around. ¬† This will make it more comfortable and he won’t feel bad if he has to go in. ¬†I am a softie, but I put a fan facing our dog’s crate because he hates to be hot. ¬† I know… I know… a little ridiculous, but I hate thinking he¬†wouldn’t be comfortable and if he has to be in a crate¬†already, why not make it better?

5-  Start giving him a bath often when he is young. 
Our dog LOVES to get a bath and I think it was because we started young.  He hated the first two, but soon learned to LOVE getting a bath!

coach in the tub

 

READER’S GIVE ADVICE:¬†
“SHOULD I GET A DOG FOR OUR FAMILY?”

Your answers were awesome, as always!

  1. ¬†Let the dog pick your kids instead of you picking them. The cutest dogs aren’t always the ones that like you & your family. Been there and done that¬†¬†Also I will second- the dog will be Your Job. If you don’t have time to really work with a dog, potty training as well as behavioral training, then it’s not the right time in your life for a dog. Done that too…

     

  2. You will be picking up poop every day for the next 12+ years.

     

  3. Go to the pound and get one. People are such wimps when it comes to owning a pet nowadays. It’ll help your kids become more responsible and charismatic. The dog will be grateful you came and got him/her also. Best memories.

     

  4. Every kid should have a dog. They’ll never have a more loyal best friend. It’s been proven in medical journals that kids older than about 8 with a dog are healthier than their petless peers. Yes, they’re work, but my little mutt is worth every ounce

     

  5. Every kid needs a dog! Dogs show us unconditional love and how to become responsible. We have a yellow lab and have always had one. Such good “kid dogs”.¬†
  6. Five years old are great ages to introduce a dog to your kids… Work with a reputable rescue and find the dog that best fits your family dynamics… Mid to large size breeds (inc mix-breeds) are better with kids… A dog that’s 1 or 2 years old is a great age for kids.

  7. ¬†¬†Adopting a dog is kind of like adopting a kid. You don’t know if everyone is going to get along….you are going to have to pay doctor bills for the dog’s shots and illness. The dog needs attention and if you suddenly realize you do not want the dog…it is hard to find a new home for the dog. I say don’t get a dog unless you are ready to consider the dog as another child.
  8.  We had our dog (Australian Shepherd) two months before I got pregnant with our first child. The dog has been MY dog and will always be, but I love it. It is a family member but knows its place in the crowd. It gives me joy and yes, also needs to go for long walks. But overall it makes us very happy.
  9. We got a dachshund for our kids last year, the best thing I ever gave them! My kids were 3, 6, and 7

  10. ¬†I am glad you understand all the work it takes, it breaks my heart to see people giving away pets on Facebook every day because they don’t realize how much work and time they require. My children grew up without pets and turned out great!
  11. We went last month and adopted a dog from our local shelter. The best thing we have done. She is 3 years old, house trained, great with my kids and just all-around wonderful. I have learned a few lessons in the past. Adult dogs can love just as much as puppies. 

  12. ¬†¬†We got a border collie from a local rescue group. We have 2 kids ages 6 and 2. Our dog is great with our kids. This breed is great with children, very gentle and sweet. And they all have a blast running around together and burning some energy off good luck, pets truly enrich kid’s lives.
  13. ¬†Are you ready for a third kid? Cause, that’s what you will have if you get a dog. Dogs are a lot of work and in the end, it will be YOU who cares for it no matter what. We got a cat a couple of years ago. Best thing I ever did.
  14. ¬†I can’t stress this enough. Do A LOT of research on breeds! Good dogs come from good breeders.¬† Buy from a reputable breeder. Make sure you pick a dog that is hypo-allergenic (does not shed), a breed that is good with children and does not have a lot of genetic health problems.
  15.  Cons- they are expensive. We have family out of town and when we travel we have to Board our dogs. You always have to get home to feed the dog and pets can be destructive- chew on things, pee on things, etc. Pros- dogs are fun! The kids learn responsibility, plus coming home to see your dog waiting for you so excited is heartwarming. Your kids will grow up with the dog. The pros outweigh the cons in my opinion.
  16. ¬†¬†At the end of the day, YOU need to want the dog… It is a lot of work.
  17.  Our girls were 4 and 5 when we got our German Shepherd at 6 weeks old (she was picked up at a small dog rescue) having done the housebreaking thing I suggest getting an older (1 or older) pup. I would go to a local SPCA or 501c3 rescue.
  18. ¬†From having dogs growing up to still having dogs now with my own kids, I can’t imagine not having one. (the time I spent at college with no pets was lonely coming from a childhood with cats, dogs & horses)
  19. We have 2 dogs and 2 cats, all of which we had before kids. We have an almost 3-year-old and almost 1 year old and it’s a lot of work having all of those pets with 2 little ones. O
  20. Unless it is an outside dog, it is so much work! We had an outside dog when our kids were younger, and it didn’t change our workload at all. We have 2 inside dogs now- and our children are even much older-but it is so much work.¬†

  21.   Getting a dog will be YOUR job. It will pee in your house and chew on things you will be very upset to find chewed up.
    After two years of puppy annoyances, you should have an awesome dog. Unless you’re like me and you’re horrible at training animals. I highly recommend a large breed. They’re easier to house train.
  22. We have 2 dogs LOVE them they can take some work getting puppies to potty outside….need lots of walks but we love doing it & good for the baby to grow up with dogs.¬†

  23. Our kids are 15 and 11 and the dogs are still my job. ¬†¬†Don’t forget vet bills, dog food, and other costs.
  24. ¬†I have 2 dogs. The first one was to help my son walk after he broke his leg. That was 2 years ago. My 2nd girl was to keep my 1st one company, but that doesn’t happen. Lol Dogs are great.
  25. ¬†I was given 2 dogs and gave them both back (totally separate times)… fleas, pee, and poop on the floor (carpet, and BED!!), chewing my shoes, furniture, etc., and always needing to put them somewhere when we left town or wanted to do something. They are adorable and snuggly and are the best BUT Grandma has lots of dogs that we can visit and that’s good for us!
  26. They are A Lot of work and all the reasons have already been stated but they bring so much joy and unconditional love that it’s worth it. My best advice is to get to know the breeds, health issues and think about what you want and works best for your family
  27.  Pro so much love. Con: Expensive vet bills. And they and a little messy.
  28.  We have two dogs n a 13-month baby they all are so fondly of each other my daughter stops crying once she sees them also my dogs are really considerate of her being around
  29. ¬†I knew a dog trainer who worked with dogs in shelters. I asked her to keep her eye out for a kid-friendly dog, and she found us the best dog. ¬†That being said, we have to schedule dog walks AM and PM. Pick up toys so they don’t get chewed up. Pay $30 per day for dog care when we are out of town & more.
  30. ¬†I have a lab… After a month or so, kids stop playing with her, brushing her, feeding her. Now it’s all on me or I’ve got to make them care for her. I’ve recently had surgery and haven’t been able to play with her.
  31. I do not have kids and just got a new pup. It’s a lot to deal with. Many dogs will not be forgiving with very young children, so finding the right pooch for your kids is very important. A good rescue group will take the dog back if it does not work out, and should have vetted the dog out for its temperament with children. Age 8-10 is probably better for everyone involved, including the dog.
  32. I believe that it just depends on the whole family and the dog. Not just the type of dog.. but it’s personality. Each dog is different as well as each family. We got a Golden-doodle in February, and he is the best. He is very laid back.
  33. ¬†We got a small dog (Luna) when my boys were 5 & 3. Small dog = small pee, small poop, small food, smaller vet pills. But then have to pee more often. IF YOU DON’T WANT A DOG DON’T GET ONE BECAUSE YOU WILL BE THE ONE TO TAKE CARE OF IT!!!
  34.  Pro: playmate, con: dirty
  35. I’d say a rescue and not a puppy you want a fixed trained dog that’s great with kids I say a puppy is yo stressful with little kids to try to house train and such but personally we had an awesome experience with dogs that weren’t puppies that are awesome with kids.¬†

  36. ¬†I’m happy to see so many people posting the cons. I know people who will get the pets because they are cute and then as soon as the people realize they are work they are done with them. We have a mutt and a purebred. Both are great pets and adorable but both have many of the pros and cons listed throughout this post.
  37. ¬†We love our dog, she trained very quickly was house broke at 10 weeks… we got her at 6 wks…. we did put her in training classes that helped a great bit. She’s very loving n protective…. downfall she chewed up some things we had to replace some expensive things.¬†
  38. Dogs are so great. I want another one, so bad! Yes, they’re work, but as kids, (no, I’m not one of those who compares dogs to kids, they’re not the same lol, just making a point ) they’re totally worth it! They bring so much joy to your life.¬†

  39. Those are the perfect ages to get a dog! When we got our dog my son was 3 and he had been asking for one for forever so when we bought our house we promised him to get one. Well, we were looking around at shelters to get one so he was getting excited!

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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