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Adopting Your First Family Dog? Here’s What You Need To Know

By Mike Powell | Contributor

Have you been considering expanding your family by adopting your first family dog? The Covid-19 pandemic has seen more dog adoptions than in previous years, which is excellent news. 

But how do you know the right time, the right dog, and where to find your new fur baby? Here’s what you need to know when considering adopting your first family dog. 

When Is The Right Time? 

How old should your child(ren) be when you get a dog? There’s no right or wrong answer, but we recommend waiting until your child is four or five years old. 

There are a few reasons behind this. One, your kid will be old enough to go for a playdate with the pup before you sign the papers and bring your new dog home. Introducing your child to the dog before the official adoption is a great idea, as you can get an idea of how the two will interact. 

Second, if you’re still dealing with young children, adding a dog to that could be overwhelming. 

Best Dog Breeds for Families 

You could go to a shelter or adoption agency and “browse,” but it’s worthwhile doing a bit of research to make sure you’re getting a family-friend breed. All dogs have the potential to be loving and affectionate, but some are just better with kids than others. 

Consider these breeds to begin: 

  • Golden Retriever/Labrador: Energetic and affectionate, excellent for kids who are hyperactive and outdoorsy! 
  • Border Collie: Gentle but excited and busy, good choice for active children. 
  • Spaniel (Cocker or King Charles): Soft, cuddly, gentle and needs moderate exercise. 
  • Bulldog: Very easygoing
  • Poodle: Highly intelligent and easy to train. Also hypoallergenic. 
  • Beagle: Energetic but easier to handle than Labs or Retrievers. 
There’s no need to be overwhelmed when adopting your first family dog. Take your time to find the dog that’s meant to be with your family.

Where to Find Your New Dog 

If you’ve decided on a breed (or two), the next step is to find your pup. We always advocate adopting over buying, but make sure you’re choosing a reputable adoption agency. Here are a few we recommend: 

You can browse through available dogs online beforehand. Also, note that many adoption agencies will employ dog behaviorists. It may be wise to consult them before choosing a dog, to get some insight into the pup you choose. 

Bringing Your Dog Home 

Make sure your house is prepared for a dog before you bring him or her home. Also, try to dog-proof your house for the safety of your new pet and your belongings. Here’s what you’ll need to invest in before your pup arrives. 

  • A comfortable dog bed and blanket
  • Food and water bowls
  • Dog food
  • Dog treats 
  • Dog toys 
  • Grooming tools
  • A crate (if you want to crate train or travel)

Getting the Kids Involved 

Getting your kids involved from the beginning will instill in them a sense of responsibility, as well as getting them to bond with your new dog. If they’re still quite young, give them small daily responsibilities, like brushing the pup or taking him for a quick walk around the yard. 

When your kids are a little older, they can help you feed the dog. This is a bigger responsibility, as they’ll need to measure or weigh the food and give it to your dog at the right time. 

When the child and dog have formed a close bond, you can get your child involved in training. Let them teach the dog commands and offer a treat when they get it right. 

This is an excellent opportunity for your child to do something productive with a tangible end result. 

A dog that is loved and cared for can be your child’s best friend.


About the Author: 

Mike Powell has been caring for dogs since he was a child. His passion for them only grew as he got older, and he now shares his knowledge on all things dog at Dog Embassy

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