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Pick the Perfect Pooch

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Your kids finally convinced you to add a furry friend to the family--so how do you select the right doggie in the window?


It takes time and patience to find the right dog. The Humane Society of the United States Director of Outreach Stephanie Shain says you can't rush, because you're searching for a long-term relationship.

Here's some of Stephanie's best tips for finding a new canine best friend:

1. The myth that kids need to "grow-up" with a puppy is just a myth. Stephanie recommends selecting an animal at least nine months or older.

2. There is no breed universally great with kids. Golden retrievers are an example: They were known for their wonderful temperaments, but they got hugely popular and turned up for sale in pet stores. Subsequently, there was a surge of golden retriever biting incidents. If a breed is popular, be extra careful before buying. A surge in breed popularity can equal a surge in bad breeding.

3. If you are buying a dog, ask to visit the breeder's home and watch how the animals are treated. Meet the parents (at least the mom) of any puppy you consider. Make sure the breeder is reputable. The Humane Society of the United States has a Good Breeder Checklist.

4. If adopting, look for an "easy" dog, one who has lived with a family, knows basic commands and is housetrained. Visit your local animal shelter and ask them for recommendations so that you don't overlook dogs that you may not have thought you needed. 

5. Size matters. Small dogs and small kids are generally harder to mix--small dogs tend to be more skittish and small kids can grab at them or scare them by moving too fast. Medium to large dogs tend to be less frightened by young children's fast movements.

Get the truth about pet allergies and "non-allergic" dogs on Page 2: Pick the Perfect Pooch

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Amber September 4, 2008, 12:57 PM

I have 3 kids ages 5 and 2.5. We have a 1 year old Beagle. She is SO great with them. She’s tough enough to take them crawling on her and she plays with them. She loves kids so much. Beagles get negative attention for being loud hound dogs but they are really great for families with playful kids.

ashley September 5, 2008, 1:33 PM

When I was 9 we got a beagle puppy are beagle is now 7 and still acts likes like a puppy she is very strong for her size and super playful. Not that I don’t love my 2 pomeranians, but there is just something about her I realy love.

shezza September 20, 2008, 11:40 PM

We have a Basset Hound that we adopted from a rescue in March. He LOVES all kids and is the best dog. They are very friendly dogs.

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