Family dogs

Friends for life

Which dog fits best into family life? For some it has to be a retriever, others would prefer a German shepherd. One thing’s for sure, according to the experts at the specialist retail chain, whether a dog is capable of family life depends on different factors.

The canine companion must, above all, fit in with its family in terms of character. The energy-charged Jack Russell terrier needs an environment where it can let off steam, whereas this need never be anticipated with the gentle and somewhat lazy Basset.

The essence of the family dog

It happens in every family with children… cups hurled to the ground, a bawling child, the flooded bathroom. For the family dog to indeed become a friend for life, it should be robust by nature and react impassively to the events and inattention (even from the kids). The hunting instinct should be less pronounced so that the creature doesn’t act independently when out walking. Character traits can be attributed to the breed but you as the owner can have a big influence on your dog’s behavior. A “socialised” animal challenged mentally and physically by you and who knows a clear set of rules will also find life easier in the family situation.

The dog as a family member

Parents should always keep an eye on the dog, especially those with younger children and never leave them together unattended. General rules and maybe a regular family meeting can help clear up any disagreements (as to the dog’s upbringing, for instance). Make it quite clear from the start that the parents are in charge of the dog’ upbringing and not the child or children. As a member of the family, the dog also has its own rights. He or she is not a toy to be used at will. Teach children early on how to recognise when their canine companion needs its peace and quiet and doesn’t want to be disturbed. The dog basket should always be available and respected and as a retreat, and the feeding bowl is also none of the kids’ business.

What you need to bear in mind when acquiring a dog

The rescue centres are full of dogs who have “outgrown” their masters and mistresses. Acquiring one of them needs a lot of careful consideration. If it’s suspected that one of the family has an allergy then it’s better you get this tested first. If you’re unsure whether your family are really aware of the responsibility involved, you could borrow a dog from friends of the family for a trial period. The creature should already be familiar with your family and be resistant to stress.

At all events, discuss with your family in advance just who will take on which responsibility (walkies, grooming or feeding) and whether that can be coped with in the daily routine. You should also bear in mind the costs of care, food and visits to the vet. Who will look after your animal when you’re on holiday or out of the house for several hours? If your family is agreeable on all points, you can concern yourself with finding the right breed. Appropriate books can be obtained at specialist pet shops. Always bear in mind that you must be able to give consideration to the requirements of your future family dog!

Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.