How to Ensure Your Child and Pet Are a Match Made in Heaven
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Kids and their pets can become inseparable companions, but starting out the right way is the key to a relationship that flourishes. How do you select the right one, and then how do you ensure your youngster is ready? German Shepherds can make perfect pets, but it’s imperative to choose wisely. Let’s examine the possibilities and dive into best practices.
Finding ‘The One’
A pet is more than an investment of money, especially when kids are concerned. A pet is an investment of time, energy, and love, and the last thing you want is to set your family — and the animal — up for a miserable situation. With that in mind, get familiar with various pets and their lifestyle requirements. Dogs and cats are common options, but if you’re tight on space or don’t like dealing with pet hair, an aquarium creature may be your best bet.
Even within a species, animals vary greatly, and you might never guess their needs based on appearance. There are big dogs that are well-suited to small spaces, as well as small dogs that need lots of activity. German Shepherds are a great example of a dog breed that is confident, athletic, and intelligent, but might be on the large side for a timid handler.
If you go with a German Shepherd — especially a pup — you can also do some temperament testing to find a good match for your family. The Spruce explains these tests are not perfect, of course, but they can help determine whether a puppy is bold, shy, friendly, and so forth. A dog that is very assertive might not be best for children, and a shy dog might be uncomfortable with a group of rambunctious youngsters.
Outfit Your Home
Every animal has some equipment that goes hand-in-hand with a happy and healthy life. For dogs, this includes things like a collar, leash bowls, bedding, a crate, grooming supplies, toys, treats, and food. You should find out what your new friend is used to and try to provide some familiar things in the new place. This is especially important with dog food since as Proud Dog Mom explains, a quick change can leave Fido with an upset tummy.
Along those same lines, take measures to protect your dog from elements inside your home. Have your children pick up small toys your dog might mistake as his own, put child gates up to keep Fido out of potentially hazardous (or simply off-limits) rooms, and put toxic substances and houseplants where he won’t accidentally ingest them.
Not only do you want to keep your new dog out of danger, but you also want him to be part of the family. Sometimes, this means additions like an extra dog bed next to the TV or a pet ramp by the couch. Ramps can be a bit tricky — some remain flat, whereas others transform into steps — so research some options that match your dog’s size with the furniture involved.
Raising Fido Right
While pets that are kept in aquariums and cages require basic maintenance, for the most part, there is little interaction involved. Cats, ferrets, and house rabbits use litter boxes and might learn a trick or two, but when it comes to maintaining and training and indoor pets, dogs top the list. All dogs benefit from training, but given their size, hard-working nature, and intelligence, training is always a must with a German Shepherd.
How much your child can take on will change as the years go by. Family Education points out that children under the age of three can learn to touch and handle a pet in an appropriate manner, and once a youngster is in elementary school leash-walking becomes a realistic responsibility. Kids 16 and older are welcome to participate in classes at the German Shepherd Dog Club of Austin, and it’s a great way for them and your pooch to learn more advanced skills.
Pets and children are wonderful together, but a good match is definitely a must. Do some research and make choices that set you, your children, and future dog up for success. It’ll be a match made in heaven thanks to your thoughtful planning!