Dogs are known as man’s best friend and for good reason. For centuries they’ve helped us to keep safe and given us companionship. These four-legged friends of ours are important in many people’s lives and, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 36.5% of American households own one. If you’re thinking of getting a dog, first and foremost get one because you want one and not just because you want to keep safe. If you don’t desire the companionship the dog will offer, then dog ownership probably isn’t for you, as dogs need a lot of time, training, attention and money.
Dog Safety for Small Children
Though people love the companionship of dogs in the home, the reality is that sometimes dogs bite. As long as you realize that this could happen and teach your family basic safety precautions then you should be OK, but small children shouldn’t ever be left unattended with dogs. According to the CDC, dogs bite 4.5 million Americans each year and half of these cases were children.
I know what you’re thinking, fluffy would never hurt your baby, but children don’t always play nice! They might pull at the dog’s ears, tail, or fur, stick their hands in the dog’s mouth, or just play too rough with them. It could even be as simple as they startle the dog and their natural reaction might be to bite, even if it normally wouldn’t.
It’s always a good idea to leave a dog alone when it’s eating too, it might be tempted to show dominance over it’s meal by nipping at you!
Selecting a Dog Breed
It’s important to pick a breed that’s right for your personal situation. You could talk to a veterinarian or animal shelter about the breeds that might be a good fit for your family. Lots of things make one breed more desirable than another, but things like the size of your yard and house, if there are any small children in the home, the amount of exercise that it needs, or if you have any other animals in the house, all have an impact.
It sounds obvious, but never be tempted to get a dog just because you think it looks cute! Dog ownership is a serious decision, you have to choose your dog based on your ability to care for and train it. Just like babies, dogs don’t come into the world well-trained, you’ll need to spend a lot of time with your dog training it. Luckily there’s lots of books that can teach you how to, as well as obedience schools you can go to with your dog. A properly trained dog is usually less destructive and better behaved.
One benefit of having a dog in the home is for protection. There are three ways that dogs can offer this:
- They may act as an alarm. Many dogs will alert you by barking that someone is approaching the home. If it’s an unwanted intruder, this may be enough to make them pass by your home.
- The sight of a dog might keep an intruder away. If your dog looks menacing, even though it may be the biggest coward around, they may choose to try their luck elsewhere.
- They might attack an intruder. While this is an effective way to keep intruders out, it’s also a major liability. An aggressive dog might be inappropriately aggressive in other situations as well, attacking people when it shouldn’t and causing unnecessary injury or death, opening you up to severe legal consequences. If you wanted a dog as a guard dog, you’d have to give it the proper training and there are specific schools available that provide this.
Having a dog in the home can be very beneficial to your family. Your dog can provide years of playful companionship and protection, as long as you make sure that you fully understand the realities of dog ownership before getting one.