Are small dogs safer pets around children? – Part 4

Are Small Dogs Safer Around Children

Categorizing dogs probably achieves the same percentage of correct conclusions achieved by categorizing humans. Not all humans are young; not all dogs are small. Neither are all small dogs safe around children, nor all big dogs harmful to children. Dogs’ personalities are as unique as their human counterparts.

I grew up with a German Shepard who was replaced by a Beagle Hound when the Shepard died. A few years later my parents bought an American Cocker Spaniel and began breeding and showing dogs. I worked for a veterinarian and a professional dog handler and learned about training, grooming, genetics and countless other canine concerns.

Although we bred Cocker Spaniels for many years, I frequently enjoyed the friendship of other breeds. A Great Dane, an English Setter, an English Springer Spaniel, a Pekinese, an Irish Terrier, and a Border Collie have been my companions at different times. As versatile as these breeds are, they have one thing in common: all were my friends. Some predated my children but they all loved children and I trusted them implicitly.

In determining how safe any dog will be around children, it is helpful to know the commonly accepted breed characteristics. Some breeds have been bred for many generations to perform specific jobs for humans. This may preclude some breeds from being good around children; conversely, it might provide the impetus for the best canine/child relationship. For example, my Irish Terrier, a medium sized, very strong dog, was bred for guard dog duty. Shannon would play like a puppy with my children, play attack games with me, protect our house from intruders but walk slowly, pacing my semi-invalid father’s gait.

Some people think small dogs are easier to care for than larger ones. The truth is larger dogs require more room but the same amount of care as their tiny “cousins”.

The most important part of dog ownership is the training. They must be taught with love and patience in much the same way as you teach a child. Discipline should be synonymous with training, not punishment; that’s the way to make a friend. Making a friend is the most important factor in any canine/human relationship.

For those new to the art of training dogs, many classes are available but I would suggest a recommendation of a breeder or veterinarian. Frequently local kennel clubs hold classes which teach people the proper methods of training as the owners teach their dogs.

Remember dogs should are not a disposable commodity, so take care in choosing your dog. Pick the right dog for your circumstances, be it large or small, and you will acquire the best friend anyone ever had.

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