Bulging eyes full of tears, a trembling lower lip and almost a whisper: “I will take him for a walk every day, I promise!”. The time has come: the child wants a dog, and it must be the most plush, cutest and smartest of all. Oh my God
At first glance, a pet for children is a great asset. They develop a deep friendship that holds every secret and promises unconditional love. The dog doesn’t laugh at you, thinks you’re great every day, and sometimes even eats the disgusting broccoli you throw under the dinner table.
Children learn to take responsibility
With a pet, children learn to take responsibility and pay attention to the needs of others, they are often more active in sports and build their self-confidence and self-efficacy when interacting with a dog.
The positive aspects concern the parents, but they also have a great responsibility. Because let’s not kid ourselves: most of the work will be yours. Therefore, the decision about yes or no addition to the family should be well thought out.
To help you with this, I will summarize it here.
- What to look for before getting a dog
- how do you decide which dog is right for you
Before the Paw Patrol moves in with you, you must (honestly) answer the following questions:
Do we have time for a dog in everyday life? Do we really have time to go for a walk?
The walking rule is:
- at least 3 times a day
- a total of at least 2 hours
In 2022, a new regulation on animal welfare dogs came into force, vaguely referring to “sufficient outdoor exercise” (TierSchHuV, §2(1)1.). However, sufficient for a decrepit beagle means something completely different than for a young greyhound. But all dogs have the same thing: the bladder of a dog shrinks in the rain, and in a blizzard, and in hail.
Tip: Evening walks together create a wonderful setting for family conversations, which are otherwise often lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Wasn’t there something along the lines of “more outdoor exercise” among the New Year’s resolutions?
Make sure, however, that only those children who are physically capable of handling the dog are allowed to lead it. Even the laziest and fattest dog can get scared and run away unexpectedly.
Who looks after and keeps the dog busy?
Dogs can learn to stay alone for hours without taking the couch apart. However, they are pack animals and absolutely need social contact. And one more thing: the smarter the dog, the more activity it requires during the day.
Tip: Maybe you can take your dog to the office with you during the day? A child-friendly dog is usually also a co-worker’s favorite – just ask your supervisor what the rules are for you.
Also, don’t forget:
- Book an appointment with a veterinarian
- dog school
- dog training
What do we do with a dog on vacation?
Having a dog doesn’t mean you can never go on vacation again. It just takes a little more planning. Ideally, of course, the dog can go with you, because your four-legged friend is also looking forward to spending whole days with you in a new, exciting, unexplored place. Many hotels are catered for dog owners these days, and campsites are an even bigger exception when dogs are not allowed.
Or do you have friends or relatives up your sleeve who can take care of the dog in the meantime?
notification: If all else fails, there are kennels that will always take care of your dog in a professional manner. But be careful: the prices here are highly dependent on the holiday season and where you live.
Are we allowed to keep a dog?
In a rented apartment, you need permission from the owner to keep a dog. Under the law, the keeping of a dog cannot be prohibited at all, but must be justified by the noise or smell unpleasant to the neighbors, the size or danger of the dog. If you’ve been explicitly rejected, it’s worth thinking twice before starting a fight.
There are also legal purchase requirements for some dog breeds. These vary from state to state, you can find information on the websites of your state.
In most cases, a so-called major or minor certificate of competence is required. This is a small test that you can take with your veterinarian. And don’t worry: it’s easy, and you can find a lot of documents and learning tips online.
Are there any medical or personal reasons against a dog?
An allergy to dog hair or a deep-seated fear of dogs is not something to be trifled with. Maybe you already have a family with a wagging tail in your circle of friends where you can check if all family members can live with a dog?
Those who prefer their apartment to be cleaned for the time being and sparkling clean should also consider buying. Almost every dog sheds. And that’s a lot.
Can we afford a dog?
The good news is that a dog doesn’t cost that much. Depending on the size of your dog, you spend between 50 and 80 euros per month on high quality food.
One-time purchase costs are a big problem: animal shelters charge a placement fee, which is usually around 300 euros. Reputable breeders sell puppies for up to several thousand euros.
There are also food and water bowls, toys, at least one basket, a leash and collar, and treats. Animal liability insurance is always useful and, depending on the federal state, is also mandatory for some breeds, costs start at 5 euros per month.
Warning: If your dog gets sick and needs surgery, it can be very expensive. Your best bet is to learn about animal health insurance or save money for it.
Which dog is right for us?
You can talk about this point for hours (and often all thoughts are then thrown overboard, because you still fall hopelessly in love at first sight).
A few criteria and suggestions you can use:
- Small dog (up to 40 cm): French bulldog, dachshund, beagle, miniature poodle
- medium sized dogs (41 to 60 cm): labrador, golden retriever, collie, dalmatian
- large dog (from 61 cm): Bernese Mountain Dog, St. Bernard, Mastiff
- Domestic Potatoes: Basset Hound, Retro Pug, Pekingese
- Playful and cheerful dog: Jack Russell Terrier, Bearded Collie, Australian Shepherd
- Athlete: Border Collie, Husky, Podenco
Belonging exotic factor:
- (fairly) very popular: Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, West Highland Terrier.
- Something else: English Bulldog, Irish Wolfhound, Akita.
- Exceptionally rare: Chinook, Norwegian Lundehund, Xoloitzcuintle.
Also consider what age suits you:
Puppies (up to 18 weeks of age) should be out every two hours at first – even at night. They grow into your family and adapt perfectly to you, but for this you also have to do all the parenting work.
Young dogs (up to 2 years old) carry only nonsense in their heads, but often already know the basic commands and toss and turn. You are the perfect age to start a long life together.
Adult dogs (from 2 years old) are the most predictable first dogs. Here you know exactly what to expect: your character is trained and your likes and dislikes are known. Depending on their background, they are also hard on all teams.
Last but not least: Take, don’t shop!
Animal shelters are full of wonderful family dogs. The on-site experts evaluate your four-legged friends professionally and can therefore give you comprehensive advice. Support is usually also offered after purchase for settling in and living with a new friend.
However, if you want a dog from a breeder, make sure you are dealing with a reputable breeder who sells healthy and socialized puppies.
About the Author: My name is Sebastian and I write on my hunde.plus blog about dog training and handling. Since I am a father of two dogs, my friends often ask me what I think about getting a dog. I am convinced that there is a suitable dog for everyone, and the dachshund is just a glance away.