What’s your criteria for choosing a puppy? Is it the “awe” factor?
You know, that sound you make every time you see one? There’s nothing wrong with falling in love with a puppy face. Unfortunately, that only works well for buying stuffed animals. When choosing a canine companion that you want to live in your house for the next decade and become part of your family, you need to put more thought into it.
Don’t think of it as buying a “pet” for your family. Hamsters and goldfish make great pets. Dogs, however, are pack animals. They need to belong to your pack–commonly called a family. They need companionship, maybe as much as you do.
Throughout the years, we’ve had a variety of dogs that became treasured and productive members of our family. They have added immensely to happy childhood memories. So much so that their names and stories were passed down to the next generation.
If you want a dog that is more than a pet and one that adds health and mental stability to your family, then you have to be very careful about your selection. All of the dogs listed are smart and have the capacity to learn easily. Most, you will notice, are of some size. This is due to my belief that larger dogs are less fearful of children. They can handle the clumsy, rough affection from toddlers.
Labradoodles are a mix between a Labrador retriever and a standard poodle, with a sweet, teddy-bear appearance. They have a double dose of brains from both sides of the family tree, and the fun-loving nature of a lab. We currently have a “doodle.” She is by far the most intelligent dog we have ever owned, understanding a very large vocabulary. She quickly picks up on our moods and is my constant companion.
These dogs do not shed. The downside is that if not groomed, their hair will get matted. Although ours is only 37 pounds, they can be much larger.
Goldendoodles are golden retrievers mixed with standard poodles. They are extremely gentle. Think baby polar bear with a spiral perm. These are very laid-back dogs. The older they get, the lazier they get. Trust me, this is a plus.
2. Golden Retriever
Goldens and goldens mixed with labs have been part of our family for years. We were first introduced to these dogs close to 20 years ago when we volunteered to be puppy raisers for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). These dogs are used as therapy and assistance dogs.
Their loyalty, intelligence, and patience make them wonderful companions for children.
1. Great Dane
Yes. They are huge. However, they are also very sweet, gentle giants. These dogs are some of the most intuitive dogs I’ve ever known. We currently have one in the family that routinely puts his four-year-old best friend to bed every night.
They are very protective without being aggressive.
Whatever dog you choose, take into consideration what the dog was originally bred for. Look for dogs with a history of gentleness, loyalty, and intelligence and you’ll give your children a childhood friend and a lifetime of memories.
One more thought to consider: A dog can only become a companion if you are willing to put the time and effort into learning to communicate with him and teach him the rules of acceptable behavior in your home. I consider this an absolute must.