Saturday, August 6, 2016

Man's Best Friend: Educate Your Children on How to Act Around Dogs + 8 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Get a Dog

Ah, dogs; my absolute favorite creature on this big, blue planet.

Dogs are loyal, affectionate, and they have this enormous amount of unbreakable faith in their owners that you simply cannot find in any other species on Earth. Dogs, in my opinion, are truly God's greatest gift to man. I couldn't see myself without a furry friend to teach and love.

At a young age, I had a love for dogs that could not be destroyed. By the time I was around 8-years-old, my sisters and I developed an incredibly strong bond with our protective, affectionate, and intelligent dog Sabre, a German Shepherd. We trained her, played with her, and loved her like she was our little sister.


Unfortunately Sabre wasn't very well socialized and because of her aggression towards family members who would come to visit, my parents felt that they could no longer keep her. We were absolutely devastated (this is a huge understatement) when we had to give her up. We spent hours crying in the living room floor on that sad Sunday evening, wishing that we could have our friend back. Losing Sabre was was like losing a sibling.

On that day I made a promise to myself; I would NEVER, EVER put my future children through that. If we were going to get a dog, he or she would become family and we would keep our furry friend until the day he or she passed on.

And I kept that promise.



Meet Buddha, our 8-year-old mix-breed (after lots of recent research, we now believe he is mixed with Chow Chow). We have had Buddha since he was a wee little pup; we welcomed him into our home at 9-weeks-old. Buddha has grown to be the absolute hairiest, smartest, most loyal dog that I have ever had the pleasure to welcome into my life, home, and heart. He is insanely intelligent, fiercely loyal, and he is my best friend.


Because we're a dog-loving family, we decided that we wanted to welcome another furry friend into our lives. That's when we acquired this beautiful, German Shepherd/Labrador mix that our 9-year-old son named "Shade." She, too, was 9-weeks-old when we brought her into our home. Like Buddha, Shade will be here until the day she is called to Doggy Heaven.


Shade is still in training and there will be plenty to talk about later. We are currently working to house train her and she's also learning how to walk on a leash, sit, and lie down. I hope that she will be as incredible as Buddha is—actually, with lots of love and training, I know she will be.


Despite having been through quite a lot in his rather short life, Buddha is still the best dog he can be. He is my best friend, my protector, and my right-hand-man. He is always trying to please us and has done an amazing job in teaching our new addition, Shade, to be submissive and to relieve herself outside!


Buddha is great with our two children, but they know when it's time to leave him alone.



To be honest, we taught our children more than we taught Buddha. All children should be taught to NOT do the following to a dog, EVER:


  • Grab his neck
  • Pull his fur
  • Climb on him
  • Hit him
  • Pull his ears or tail
  • Grab his paws
  • Startle the dog
  • Put her face in the dog's face
  • Ride on the dog
  • Ignoring body language or cues that a dog is aggravated or stressed

If your child or children are grabbing on, pulling, climbing on, hitting, kissing, chasing, or generally aggravating your dog, then you need to correct your child immediately. As much as I hate to say it, but if you do not teach your child how to handle and act around animals and your child is bitten after displaying one of the above behaviors, then it is YOUR FAULT, whether it be due to lack of education and/or lack of supervision.

When you don't teach your child the dos and don'ts of being around dogs, then you end up putting both your child and the dog in a potentially fatal situation. The results are often bad for both of them because the dog bites the child and then the dog is [usually] euthanized. Sadly, it could have been avoided.

Educate your children. Kids sometimes need much more training and redirection than dogs. Teach them to understand a dog's body language and to understand when a dog is done playing or doesn't want to be bothered.

For more information, see Why Dogs Bite Children.




It is incredibly important that you know what to expect before getting a dog.

If you're unsure, check out this list that explains 8 reasons why you shouldn't get a dog:

8 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Get a Dog

You're too busy.


Whether you're busy taking care of your elderly great aunt Sally or working 60+ hours per week, if you're schedule is constantly full, then you shouldn't get a dog. In the wild, dogs run in packs, meaning they are extremely social creatures. They need training, exercise, and lots of affection. If you're unable or unwilling to provide these things to your furry friend, then you should wait until you are before bringing a dog into your home.

You travel and/or move a lot.


A person whose job requires regular travel or a person who travels often for leisure should probably not get a dog. Not only will a dog tie you down, but there are added expenses as well; pet sitting, boarding, etc. Dogs are fiercely loyal and they don't understand when you leave them. On the other hand, if you're moving a lot, there is a chance that you could end up at a residence where your dog's breed is blacklisted—meaning that you would not be allowed to move in with your dog because their breed is restricted. This could lead you to having to give up your furry friend, and that's not fair to either one of you, especially your loyal companion.

You're low on finances.


You might think that it's easy raising a puppy, but dogs require a lot more than you think, including:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter
  • Vaccinations
  • Registration
  • Regular Check-ups
  • Toys
  • Grooming
This list can be significantly longer if you require boarding, obedience training, etc. If you cannot financially provide for yourself, then you certainly cannot provide for a dog. If you're struggling to pay your bills, feed yourself, or put gas in your car, then don't bring a dog into that lifestyle. It's downright selfish and wrong.

You only want one because they're "trendy" or because you saw a breed in a movie that you thought was cute.


Contrary to what mainstream media wants you to believe, dogs are not accessories. You shouldn't choose to get a dog just because the breed is trendy or because you saw it in one of your favorite movies. Not every breed is recommended for every person. If you have children, you'll want a breed that's gentle. If you have other pets, you'll want a breed that's good with other animals. Researching breeds before getting a dog could mean the difference between having a great family dog versus one that is stubborn and difficult to train.

You want one to keep your children busy.


Canine companions are not babysitters. To blindly purchase a dog and expect it to love and adore your children and learn on it's own is not only wrong, it's blatantly stupid. Often times, children don't know how to treat dogs (which we discussed earlier). They're seen hanging on the dog's neck, squeezing them, chasing them, climbing on them, pulling their fur and other body parts, etc. This is a DANGEROUS situation and potentially fatal [for both your children and the dog]. If you are not willing to teach your children how to act around a dog and if you're not willing to train the dog and socialize him with your children, then you're not ready for one. You must also be sure that your kids are ready for the responsibility of a dog and you must be around to supervise and help train.

Your family doesn't want a dog or doesn't like dogs.


If you want a dog but your spouse disapproves, then you might want to reconsider getting one (or consider getting rid of your spouse)—I'm joking, sort of. Surprising a person who doesn't like the idea of having a furry friend isn't going to make him automatically love the dog. Sometimes, our loved ones simply don't have the same views of these cuddly creatures, so you run the risk of having to get rid of the dog. Not to mention, if your spouse isn't a dog lover, they might not be inclined to take on the responsibility when you're not around which could lead to several issues.


You're not settled.


If you intend on moving, working more hours, or making major lifestyle changes that could interfere with your schedule or availability, then you should reconsider getting a dog until you're in a more stable situation. Dogs need a forever home with exercise, discipline, training, and affection. If you can't see yourself providing this, then don't bring a dog in to your life. Get a stuffed animal instead.


You're unwilling to change.


Like the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan says: "Remain calm-assertive when training your dog." If you're a hyper person who's constantly moving around and never sitting still, then your dog will feed off of this energy and quite possibly, display neurotic behavior. If you're easily angered and irritated, then you probably have little patience for a dog. Quite often, people are unwilling to change their ways which leads to a poorly trained dog. People typically blame the dog instead of themselves. Dogs need a pack leader, an alpha. If you cannot be dominant while remaining calm-assertive with your dog, then you need to work on your energy before getting one.


I really hope that this information helps you in your decision to welcome a furry friend into your home. Once you decide that a dog is right for you, be ready to have a friend for life.


My goal is life is to become as wonderful as my dog thinks I am.

Please, pass this information on to anyone you know who is thinking about getting a dog or wondering why their dog seems aggressive towards their children.




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