If you have small children and are considering adopting a puppy, you may be excited about the thought of adding a dog to your current family unit. However, there are multiple things that you should consider when choosing a puppy for your home while your kids are still small. Here are a few of them:
The Size of the Puppy
A puppy may start out small and cuddly, but it will eventually grow. A large puppy can inadvertently cause a young toddler to fall over just by being overly friendly during a greeting. If you select a large breed puppy, it is important to ensure that the dog is docile enough not to harm a small child during an episode of regular play.
How Your Home's Amenities Match the Puppy's Size and Exercise Needs
The puppy's size and exercise needs should match the style of your home. If you and your family live in a small apartment that is not near an outdoor walking area or green space, a large dog is probably not the best option. Instead, look for a smaller breed that is able to adjust to spending most of its time in a moderate indoor environment and can be walked in small areas with a stroller without becoming frustrated.
The Temperament of the Puppy
It is important for the living style of your family to complement the temperament of your puppy. If your family is active and outdoorsy, an energetic puppy may blend well. However, due to the unpredictable nature of small children, it may not be best to choose a dog with a strongly dominant temperament. To check a puppy's temperament, there are multiple tests that you can use, such as the following:
On the Back
By gently placing the puppy on its back and holding it there for a few moments, you will see a display of the dog's temperament. A strongly dominant puppy may begin to whine, growl and frantically move about, trying to escape the forced position. A more docile puppy may simply lie contently in the new position, and a puppy whose temperament is somewhere in between may squirm a bit but will not seem to panic.
You can also test the puppy's temperament by gently holding it a few inches above the ground. A puppy with a dominant personality may squirm wildly and even try to bite your hand in order to be freed. More submissive dogs will simply rest in the position, while a puppy with an intermediate temperament may wiggle a bit but will not seem to be in great distress.
To learn more about how to choose a great puppy for a family with small kids, schedule an appointment with a veterinary clinic such as Pilot Knob Animal Hospital.