Please note this post is a collaborative post.
Even when you have a large family, you might feel like something’s missing. There may be a hole in your heart and a space at the end of the sofa. There are often few better ways to fill it than with a four-legged friend.
Bringing a dog (or any animal) into the family home can be fantastic for everyone. At last, your family will feel complete as those four legs pitter-patter their ways into your hearts. They soon will become a staple and much-treasured part of the family that you can all spoil rotten and feel much-enriched by doing so. Sadly, not everything is sunshine, love, and rainbows when it comes to taking on a significant commitment like this, alongside your existing family duties. In fact, if you don’t plan this addition well, you could soon find that you’re all tied up with a dog-kid combo that drives you barking mad!
Does that mean you shouldn’t still take the plunge? Not at all, but it does mean you should consider the following ways to take the hassle out of juggling fur and family from day one.
Think hard about the breed
There is all manner of reasons to think hard about the breed of dog you bring into the family. Some are famously more patient and suited to kids than others. You will also probably want to consider a breed that’s relatively calm and docile. You may also want to consider sheading, grooming requirements and size. You want to make your fur and family adventure get off to a positive start.
Think about it; a bouncing springer spaniel that needs multiple walks a day is guaranteed to be a commitment too far when you’re already struggling to juggle family life. Worse, there’s no way you’ll be able to provide a pooch like this with the quality of life they deserve. By comparison, a famously calm and lazy breed like a bulldog or a basset hound is guaranteed to fit much more smoothly into your life as it stands. Bulldogs, in particular, are known for sleeping for large portions of the day, meaning that you’ll still have ample time to take care of household chores around them.
Tackle crate training early
The benefits of dog crate training are tenfold, and involve everything from reduced risk of chewing to less crying during the night. What’s more, well-executed crate training ensures a level of obedience that you’re guaranteed to appreciate. After all, if your kids spill something or disaster happens elsewhere in the home, the ability to get your pooch in their crate within seconds will drastically reduce the mayhem that ensues.
Crate training needn’t even take you a great deal of time when you’re already pushed. All you need to do is bring a crate home along with your pup, and teach them that it’s a pleasant place to be by feeding them in there, etc. Before long, they’ll come to understand that this is their safe spot, no matter what’s going on elsewhere in the house.
Teach them to walk off the lead
If you’re pushing a buggy or trying to keep track of multiple kids at once, the last thing you want is a dog lead that, quite literally, ties you up! With this in mind, it’s also vital you teach your pooch to walk off the lead. That way, you can focus on your kids without having to worry about what your dog’s up to, as well.
Again, breed with play a large part here given that most terriers are entirely inappropriate for off-lead training while gentler breeds will likely just stick by you at all times. Taking small steps with the help of treats and a clicker is also vital for ensuring your dog comes back to you every time, as soon as you need them to.
Get everyone involved
Lastly, taking the pain out of pooch responsibilities means getting everyone involved. Do note that, for the most part, care will always mostly fall on your shoulders. Young kids simply don’t have the patience or attention span to complete full-time dog care for extended periods. That said, you certainly aren’t in this alone.
Specific hand-picked pooch duties can be a fantastic way to teach kids about animals, as well as saving you at least some of the work. So, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks like feeding time, grooming duties, and even play sessions. That way, you can keep kids and dog occupied while you take a few minutes to finally catch your breath.
So what do you think? Are you considering adding fur and family and taking the plunge to add a family dog to your home? As always, I love to hear your thoughts.