1. Parenting
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Dogs and Kids

The Family Dog


It seemed like a good idea at Christmas. The children are older now and my daughter has begged for a "Yorkie" for three years in a row. But by February, we were seriously doubting that we had made the right decision adding a dog to our family.

I forgot the round-the-clock attention and care that a baby requires, even if it is a dog. It's certainly beyond the ability of a child to care for a dog, no matter that she promises to do all the feeding and walking if you'll just "please, please buy her a dog".

At five months, the puppy's favorite game is "run and cuss". He picks up something he knows he is not supposed to have and runs away from me as fast as he can. I chase after him like a fool, cussing and yelling, "Drop it!" Oh, it's great fun.

Then last week while I'm eating lunch, I see that he has my sunglasses. Instead of running after him, I told him in my most serious voice that I was not getting up and he better just drop it. To my amazement, he dropped the sunglasses and looked at me. I grabbed a treat and praised him. Then, he ran off and found something, came to my feet and dropped it again.

Now that "Drop It" is his new favorite game, I have hope again that we can get through the rough times. He's still learning, and he really love bacon-flavored treats.

I've learned that it makes more sense for a family with kids to adopt or buy a dog that is past the puppy stage. Housebreaking a puppy is very time consuming, and the puppy's needs most often require adult attention.

Different breeds have their own benefits and drawbacks. Our Yorkie doesn't chew up shoes or furniture; but he's an inside dog, so housetraining was a challenge. He's active and playful, but prone to get into trouble without lots of attentive play.

A large outside dog is no problem to housetrain, but will need plenty of protected running room outside. He's notorious for chewing everything in the house. Our lab ate an entire plate of freshly made divinity from the kitchen counter in an instant one Christmas.

If I haven't convinced you to put off getting a dog, these sources will help you choose the right dog and make it through the first few months.

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