Top 5 Dog Breeds For Families With Kids

Raising children and a puppy can be an awesome experience, yet challenging at the same time if you’re not sure what your doing. Raising a puppy means housebreaking and lots of poop, not unlike raising a child in diapers. The good news is that a puppy’s developmental process happens a lot faster, all within the first year. Sure, the concept of puppies and children seems amazing but can be a lot of work if your not prepared. Success largely depends on your time, previous experience, lifestyle match of the breed of dog you pick and your child’s age.

Puppies are great, but remember they loose their teeth during a teething stage and that sweet 8 week-old angel you got can quickly turn into Cujo for a short period of time. Navigating through this puppy stage with children around and doing it gracefully is the key to success.

It’s all manageable if you’re organized and know how to surf through the housebreaking and chewing phase of puppyhood. Choosing the right breed, size and temperament to match your lifestyle is key!

 

 

There are many breeds and mixes that awesome when raised with children. Success depends on your former experience, time and lifestyle. Choosing the right breed and temperament to match your family and lifestyle is so important. If you and your partner aren’t seasoned dog owners, then choosing certain breeds can be more challenging to raise than others. The following examples are some of easier breeds to manage in terms of size and innate temperament for the first time dog owner that has children. Remember, a puppy is a puppy, no matter what breed you choose!  Mastering a great experience is all in the process of how you raise, train and housebreak your puppy.  Dogs can live a long time, up to 15 years and beyond. So if you’re contemplating getting a puppy for your child, remember it’s your new baby, first.

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This breed is a great starter dog for families with children. They must be trained and well socialized. Housebreaking and addressing separation anxiety in puppyhood ( like with all breeds) is important. In general, the King Charles Spaniel has a sweet, loving and easy temperament. They are playful and love to chase birds or butterflies but generally do not possess super high-prey drive.

 

 

Pros:

  • Size is manageable (they average about 12″ to 13″ at the shoulders and weigh about 13-20 lbs) as adults.
  • Love to snuggle and lay in your lap.
  • Are playful but not in your face self assured.
  • Pretty mellow and easy-going with children, other dogs and older people.
  • Great size for traveling. Generally will fit into traveling bags and not take up too much space in the car.
  • Come in many colors. Black and tan, red and white, ruby (red), and tricolor (black tan and white)
  • They are not super territorial in nature, which averts many issues concerning children.
Cons:
  • Can have health problems. Choosing the right breeder is important.
  • Do shed but not tiny needle hairs like pugs and other short haired breeds
  • Are so cute many people do not train them early one. Often resulting with separation anxiety issues.

2. Bichon Frise

A lovely choice for families with young children. This white fluff ball breed is a happy, very cheerful, non-shedding and make great companions. They make great apartment dogs and an easy size for travel, and happy go lucky in nature and generally not hyper. Their nature is playful and intelligent yet very tolerant of children and good with elderly people.

 

 

Pros:

  • Non shedding
  • Cute
  • Oder less
  • Not terribly territorial or yappy
  • fun, loving and ready to play and easy to train

Cons:

  • Regular grooming is a must. Brushing is essential because hair gets matted.
  • Painful hair mats need to be cut out if not groomed properly.
  • Grooming means bath, haircuts and blow drying to keep mats at bay.
  • Hair around the eyes can stain if not cleaned often.
  • $$ -Grooming costs can get expensive and need to be done monthly.
  • They are so cute, many do not formally train them or get them housebroken early in puppyhood. Hence, they can be labeled difficult to housebreak. This is not true. It’s up to the owner to achieve this by understanding how to accomplish this stage during puppyhood.

3. Shorty Jack Russell 

Some people feel that the Jack Russell Terrier is a hyper breed. However, this breed comes in many versions. The short-legged Irish and or English “shorty” jack as they’re referred to can be a calm loving lap dog, with a little zip! Training is key to this breed, yet once trained they are sturdy, lovely playful happy dogs, who can do very well with children. They come with many coat types: smooth, broken and rough. Ironically the rough or long coat version is known to shed less.

 

Pros:

  • Funny looking and come in many colors and crazy cute markings
  • Very smart and easy to train
  • Great travel size 8″ to 12″ at the shoulders and weigh 8 to 15 lbs
  • Many say they are like potato chips.. you can’t have just one
  • Good with children
  • Do well with structure and rules. Training is a must.
  • Can become ball-o-hollics which makes exercising them easy
  • Rugged, athletic and calm all in the same day.
Cons:
  • They shed a lot. The short coats have small needle like hair similar to Labs, Chihuahua’s and Pugs. The broken coats look like they don’t shed as much, but they do. The rough coated ones shed less but look more like a Benji type dog.
  • Must be apart of the family. Not a dog to be kept in the yard alone or to get bored.
  • Training and exercise must be included in your daily schedule from puppyhood through adulthood.

4. Miniature or Standard Poodle

This breed often gets a bad wrap because of their hair cuts, but in reality they are rugged, very smart, sturdy and fun dogs. Not foo-foo at all! Hence, the ever popular Labradoodle hy-bred of Lab- Poodle cross. The real deal comes in many colors, four sizes and is awesome with children. No need to go designer mix.

 

 

Pros:

  • Smart, fun, athletic with an easy going nature
  • Comes in a variety of sizes from a tiny tea cup to Standard big dog size of 70 lbs
  • Easy to train and housebreak if you put the effort into it
  • The toy, miniature or standard sizes are best for families with small children
  • Does not shed
  • You can keep this dog in a puppy cut for life, avoiding the known Poodle cut and stereotype.

 

Cons:

  • Grooming costs can add up. Haircuts needed regularly.
  • Can get ear infections due to floppy ear set. Ear cleaning is important for prevention.
  • Must train. If not they can get anxious and be prone to nervous reactions only due to a lack of understanding and training.

5. French Bulldog

This cute. small sturdy breed can be wonderful with children. Small enough for children to  play with, but a little too heavy for a child to actually pick up. They are awesome apartment dogs and do not need HUGE amounts of exercise comparable to other breeds.  They can weigh anywhere from 18 to 28 lbs as adults.

 

 

Pros:

  • Easy to train if owners are educated to their puppyhood needs.
  • Lovely with children
  • Easy grooming care. Wash and go.
  • Exercise needs are manageable
Cons:
  • Shed
  • They can get gassy and can have delicate stomach issues.
  • Snore when they sleep
  • Tend to drool occasionally
  • Known to have health some issues down the road

Please remember that all pure bred dogs are available in your local shelters and rescues. If choosing a breeder, choose carefully and really do your research!

Dog Training Tip: Walking Your Dog or Heel Thy Self?

Being dragged down the street by your dog on a daily basis, multiple times day, can become annoying to say the least!  Especially, when you’ve envisioned a brisk, refreshing morning strut with Starbucks-in-hand kind of walk with your new dog. I know, once the dopamine of love has worn off and puppy teenage-hood has set in your now energetic larger puppy, has learned to jump on people, chase squirrels and bark at on coming dogs! Now, your morning ritual has become walking and cursing while holding on to the leash and a poop bag in-hand!

So what’s “dog pulling” and being dragged down the street all about? Well, generally speaking the leash is not just to hang on to, it’s actually a tool in training.

If your dog pulls on walks, a great technique is to teach your dog to create eye contact with you, hence a bond will develop. You can achieve this by using treats or an additional technique is to create focus by using movement, voice inflection and a command. Let’s focus on the latter technique. Treats can work, but not always with all dogs especially while on walk! Besides, it’s best to vary all techniques when dog training. To change the rules of the walk, in a fun way, think of it as you’re driving the car on this walk, not your dog!

On your next daily stroll practice turning or pivoting in the opposite direction every once in a while. You see, dogs are pack animals and LOVE to play follow the leader. If you remember to think of it as a game and not discipline it will help you use a “happy voice” while changing directions. Remember, you can show love in many ways, not just treats! Keep your voice sweet as you say heel or let’s go, as you indicate the command with your movements, both will capture your pups attention.

 Changing directions suddenly helps alert your dog to a follow the leader game. The trigger of fun for your dog happens when you use your voice think of it as you would a gas pedal or steering wheel of the car. If you make it a fun game your pup will be looking up at you, rather than pulling. Occasionally stop, ask your pup to sit then praise and even give a treat. Your pup will become far more interested in your moves than she will about pulling.

Many people walk their dogs more for the intention a bathroom break than mere exercise. Sure, exercise is included but a distinction between the two activities is often not defined on the walk by the dog owner. Therefore the intention of a nice walk becomes a natural conflict. Best to initiate potty time by indicating the act with a word, like go potty, then go on your walk.

If you separate the concepts you’ll get a better result. You can also practice the concept of walking your dog in a “heel” command in the house, while on the leash, in order to accomplish the process without the distractions of the street. This exercise will help you succeed with getting the eye contact from you dog, hence you’ll get the bond you’re looking for on your walks.

Tips To Solve Doggie Demolition/ Destruction Due To Mail Delivery

I read your website this morning with great interest. I have been rescuing dogs for about 20 years, and always managed to work out the issues. Luke, however, remains a challenge. He is about 9 years old, 20 pounds, and mutt that makes breed definition impossible. I have had him for about 2 1/2 years. In that time he has destroyed 3 couches and 3 chairs. The problem occurs when the mail carrier arrives. Luke grabs a cushion or chair arm and goes absolutely nuts. Within minutes the drama is over, as is the furniture.   My friends all say get rid of Luke, but that will not happen. He is an otherwise dear dog.  I’ve looked into Thunder jackets, but reviews aren’t great for this issue.  Any suggestions? Many thanks.
Jeanne

Sierra Madre, CA

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Hi Jeanne, 

Thanks for the question! When dogs respond to sounds, as yours has, such as mail being delivered, it’s usually indicative of a trigger (such as the sound of mail going through an opening) and territorial behavior. To solve the problem of destruction that appears to be outcome of that triggered response, a desensitization to the sound is in order. Barking or in your case, destruction can be the result of a high prey drive ( chase catch and shake) triggered by the sound. In your case, the prey is your couch! There are several ways to solve this problem. Increasing your dogs exercise and your “on-leash obedience training” is always a great idea. A group class is a fantastic way to recreate a new relationship.

 Paws For A Minute® Tips to solve doggie demolition/ destruction due to mail delivery

This is a two person exercise.

1. Put your dog on a leash. Doing so helps reinforce eye contact and the positive command and generally helps guide your dog during the correction.

2. Simulate the sound. You can create the sound of mail coming through the mail slot. The repetition of the sound will also help desensitize him to the sound and his destructive reaction.

3. The use of a penny can. A penny can or ( coffee can emptied with a handful a pennies) makes a sudden sharp sound. A sound that represents that of a police car pulling one over for blowing a red light. It has a similar effect. So get a penny can and make sure it is in the hand opposite side to your dog. Remember, it’s not about your dog seeing the can, just more about the sudden shake.

4. Prepare to correct and praise. As he goes to bite the chair or couch shake the can once, and say no! As a trainer, I prefer a sharp sound to that of water being sprayed in a dogs face. The sharp sound of the pennies in the can is scary and it says to your dog “absolutely not” to destroying your couch! Using a leash helps your dog not misunderstand the correction and take off into another room. If your dog is not on a leash he may misunderstand the sound. Remember, the can is on the other side of you so your dog doesn’t see the action or sound is coming.  The leash only helps redirect him into a positive command such as sit. You can add a treat too. The eye contact between you and your dog created from the praise for doing the “sit” command establishes you as the leader, in a good way. Dogs are usually instantly triggered by movements and sound. Good and bad. This time though, you are there to correct his misguided ways. The simulation of the sound of the mail helps you be in control (because you are creating the sound with the other person) and repeat it. Also it’s good to remember, most importantly, you’ll be able to redirect your dog in a positive way ( on a leash ) to sit and praise him for doing so! This process also says to him, your my dog and it’s my house!

Remember for extreme cases of aggression or destruction, always call your local dog training professional or ask your vet for a referral. You are the best judge of your dog, if you feel this correction is not right or your dog could become more aggressive then do not do it. Your instinct is telling you that you have a bigger problem on your hands and you need to address that with your vet.

The Bark-o-holic Apartment Dog. Owner Rehab Tips

ASK INGER/ Barking
Hi Inger,
 3 months ago, we rescued a 2 year old Great Dane who we affectionately named Shortie. (At two years, she’s only 75 pounds, but perfectly healthy and gorgeous. She’s the sweetest, smartest, most amazing dog.) When we first got her, she was afraid to bark. We have been training her every day, including how to “Speak!”
 
She has a beautiful voice and generally does not cause an issue with her barking. Lately, there are certain noises that cause her to bark and howl and become really protective. Examples include the sound of wire hangers, the metal drain plug and bottles of nail polish clinking together. I worry that something related to her unknown past really upsets her, and we’re trying to minimize her stress. Do you have any advice on how to assure her that the noises she hears are safe?
Thanks in advance,
 Lee & Jason
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Hi Lee and Jason,
Shortie doesn’t sound like a bark-o-holic yet. However, you’ve only had her 3 months! Best to nip the behavior in the bud now, so thanks for your question. She sure is gorgeous and fantastic that you rescued her! Here’s the scoop on barking…
To answer your specific question, fist I must say there are many reasons that dogs bark. In your case, it’s not a question of “safe” to bark for a dog it’s more about territory, age and dominance. I think it’s very important for all owners to understand the nature of the bark. It’s a communication thing and often a misunderstanding. A young puppy can bark out of separation anxiety whereas an older pup could have a barking problem due to a boredom issue.
The occasional communication mixed signal with dog and owner can be the same as dating. Men think one way and women another? Who knew that when he said, I like those jeans, she thought, does he thinks her butt looks fat? Get it? So the reason a dog barks may actually come from a completely different place then what the owner is predicting.
In your case, it sounds like a mixed signal. Barking at noises like hangers, nail polish bottle etc. is really just a lack of socialization not necessarily fear. The reaction con also be compounded by giving Shortie too much initial space in her new home, while you are not at home. This can give a new dog a sort edge to protect and well, not relax.
A great training exercise to do is a bit of leash training in the house. Only for 10 minutes or so a few times a week put Shortie on a leash in the house and walk her around. As she barks at simulated noises, redirect her to sit. The leash help create eye contact and allows you to praise her for sitting. This redirection onto a positive command helps emphasize your prominence as her owner and helps her to psychologically relax. In other words, it translates to… your house, your in charge and she can chill.
Lastly, make sure that when your not at home she does not have access to a front window. Often dogs spend hours looking out the front window and learn to bark at every noise and person. When your dog is home alone, no one is there to correct her behavior and it can become a problem. Music is a great barking reducer too. When you leave your dog at home, put music on to trigger your leaving. The mellow sound of love songs or what I call “spa” music will create a mellow environment to sleep until you come home.
Keep us posted on your progress! 

Ask Inger: Puppies Peeing In The House. Help! Owning Two Pups = Double Trouble.

Hi Inger,

I have two 3 month-old Chi-weenie’s they are brothers and have never been separated. To potty train them I went and bought a play pen type gate and a big crate so they can sleep together at night or they cry.

I have set this up in my bathroom with the crate in the center and the metal play pen on the outside so they can’t get out and chew my cabinets but only enough room for pee pad and water when they come out of crate.

During the night they get out and use the pee pads and do not waste in the crate. But during the day the sometimes pee/ poop on the pad but a lot of the time pee/ poop around it or down the hall from it. I shampoo my carpets everyday now and have used the enzyme stuff also but it doesn’t matter.

Please help I don’t know what I am doing wrong. We even give them treats when they use the pads. I even have a pad in the hall slowly moving it in the bathroom, and same thing the use it sometimes but most of the time go around it. Please help I am tired of shampooing carpet everyday , and swear my house smells like pee. Help!

Delanee

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Hi Delanee, Very cute pups. Thanks for the great question! There are couple of things you’re doing right. Keeping the crate within the play pen area and the wee-wee pads on the far end is excellent. When training litter mates, though, there is a natural codependence that develops between the pups and as an owner you want to address that issue by teaching idea of separation, to them, slowly.

Here’s what I recommend:

Get 2 crates, one for each puppy and maybe an additional corral. Put both crates within one corral area for now, with the intention of giving each puppy their own space, in a few weeks. Remember, your pup’s are only 3 months-old, and they don’t have their shots, so wee-wee pads at this stage are the way to go. At the age of 16 weeks, your puppies will be able to hold the urge to go potty all night long and therefore be crated in their own crate with the crate door shut. They will also be able to begin going out doors for walks! So, therefore you need to begin preparing for that time. Otherwise, they will become so reliant on each other, you won’t be able to take one and not the other. They also need to learn to bond with you individually. Begin scheduling their time together and apart. The best way to do that is to create a structure introducing a little independence from one another. This is the key to help housebreak them too.

When you say “down the hall”  it’s sounds like you’re giving them too large an area for too long of a time. Have the second corral as an exercise PLAY pen “area” to be given to them to play for short periods of time. Then give a smaller area in your bathroom for chew bone, nap time and or feeding and sleeping. Perhaps getting the additional corral will make the process easier.

The goal is to begin slowly separating them, but only at certain times of the day. Having 2 corrals and 2 crates will enable you to begin creating separate time, as well as, additional play space! Use this individual space for chew bone time and use music to help reduce crying and trigger calmness. This should be done for one hour after play time.

Think about your day and daily routine and begin to think of their routine, and as to when you should create a separated space for each for a short period of time. Yes, they can see each other. Remember, the separation is only by corral and for short periods of time, to start. For instance, nap time, chewing a bone time, feeding time, all within their new separated space. They can have together time and run around time several times a day, in one large space.

Doing so, will help isolate who is going potty where and when?

The great thing about pup’s are that they operate on a clock. So make it work for you. Stop giving them treats for going potty, not necessary and distracting. If you have a patio or yard you can begin to bring one at a time, on a leash, to a wee-wee pad area there too. This will help establish a pattern of formalizing the potty process, until they get a bit older.

Please share this post and stay tuned for more…

Dog Safety Tips For 4th of July!

Paws For A Minute: 4th of July

Dog Safety Tips

Preparation is key.

- Tire your dog out before the fireworks. Walk, run, fetch or hike will do the trick.

- Access your dogs temperament. Dominant or submissive? Young or old? This will help you make a plan as to whether your dog should be with you to watch the fire works or not.

 

- If your dog is joining your BBQ and firework festivities then best to have your dog on a leash, always!

- Leaving your pup at home? Water, loud music, and in a gated space. Providing your dog with a space within your house will help reduce any anxiety. Music or leaving the t.v on will help mute out any loud sounds of fireworks. Dogs are den animals and they love small spaces. If your dog is used to a crate and feels safe being in one, then crate your dog with music.

 

#1 Cause For Separation Anxiety In Dogs

Separation anxiety is largely caused by a lack of routine. For most  brand “new” rescued dogs or even a young puppy being brought into a new environment can cause stress. Whatever your new pups age is, when you bring him/her home it’s just that, new! So a routine needs to be set be you. For a new dog or puppy being left alone in a house or room causes stress and shutting any door creates anxiety.  Training and socialization is a must and needs to be applied on the first day.

How does stress gets created for a new dog? Pushing a new dog back in order to shut a door creates stress. Many people leave their new dogs or pups in a room or outside when they leave, not knowing what to do? The process of leaving  and lack of routine can create whining, pacing, barking and plain old destruction.

Sure, everyone needs to leave and that certainly will be the goal. However, for a new dog or puppy in your family the concept of being able to be alone should be taught to them by their owners! If your home is introduced correctly to your new dog, bad habits never occur.

Paws For A Minute® 5 Tips For New Dog Ownership: Reducing Separation Anxiety in dogs

1. Never shut a door on a dog. Rather socialize him to be behind a baby gate while you are home. That way you can correct any bad behaviors.

2. Use a leash to guide your dog to the gated or outdoor area for potty. This way you can isolate the word you want to use indicating the action. Such as, wait or potty. The leash allows you to guide not coax and creates eye contact form your dog to you.

3. Even if you plan to crate train your new dog, the baby gated area should be a pre-step to crating. Every new dog is different, due to age. So please realize that crating sometimes needs to be slowly initiated and may take a few days to initiate properly.

4. Gating is to be implemented slowly 20 minutes at a time. Maybe up to 4 or 5 times the first day. This ensures you that your dog respects the gate. If not, then crating may be essential. The key is to do this while your home, to instill a positive pattern. Make sure all of your dogs needs are met. Exercise, potty breaks are key. For 8 week- old pups, the gated area should be considered it’s play pen area and crate should be within the gated space.  Other new dogs that are older, can be exercised and walked and have free time loose in your house for periods of time. It’s up to you to slowly increase the time between being loose in the house and gated.

5. Gating your dog is not intended to be a time out or punishment. It’s a great way to teach a new dog boundaries within your home.

 

Dog separation anxiety video. Does this look familiar?

This video highlights some common behavioral issues that people don’t even realize are there because they’re not home to see it…

Stay tuned for more issues on the subject!

Feng Shui With Fido™ Feeding Tip. Great Dog Bowls Add Color To Your Kitchen

Add a little color to your kitchen with these cute studio bowls by Wetnoz®.

These bowls are perfect for puppy owners, they’re plastic, inexpensive and look fantastic.

www.wetnoz.com

Paws For A Minute® Feeding Tip: Always feed your new dog a measured amount right for his size and age. Ask your vet about amounts rather than package servings. How, when and where you feed your puppy has everything to do with teaching your pup where to go potty. 

Feng Shui with Fido™ dog training method- Dog + Home = Peace.

Feeding Fido

Where: Kitchen is best, rather than outdoors.

When: Feed your dog when you are present. Many dogs love company or will get distracted if owners walk away and can become finicky eaters.

How: Best to time feed your dog. Put food down at the same time of day, same amount. Use a 15 minute increment for meal time. Pick up the food if not finished, until the next feeding time.

Why: If you leave food in a bowl out all day, it will effect your dogs housebreaking process.