Best Dog Breeds For Families With Kids

Almost 75 million dogs have been adopted into homes that already owned at least one dog. Multi-dog homes are often good for families with kids. There are other dogs to play with so a dog is not expecting constant attention from your children, or you, all the time, and there is always another dog to play with when the family is away from home.

If you’re considering adopting your very first dog or you want to replace a cherished pet that is no longer with you, it can sometimes be difficult finding the right dog for your family. All dogs are not created equal and each breed has specific traits that may or may not fit into your family situation.Deciding which dog will make the best pet for your children depends on several things. One being whether someone in the family will have the time to give the dog plenty of exercise. You also need to consider whether a small, quiet dog or a larger, active dog fits the lifestyle of you and your children. Do you have a large home or a home with a yard? Will there be someone at home most of the time?

Answering these questions can help you decide on which breed of dog is best suited to your family’s lifestyle.

Where to find your pet is also an important consideration. Some people prefer to buy a dog from a breeder if they are searching for a purebred. But if you just want the best companion dog you can find for your family, an animal shelter or pet adoption center is probably your best choice. Pet adoption agencies and animal shelters help find homes for loving animals that have, for any number of reasons, ended up neglected, unloved, or unwanted.

The dog of your dreams may right now be living an unhappy, solitary life in the confines of an animal shelter cage. These dogs are so happy to be rescued and given a second chance at life, that they will heap loads of love on your children. Ask the staff at an animal shelter or pet adoption center to help you determine which breed of dog is right for your family.

The following breeds of dogs will provide excellent companionship, loyalty and love:

Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dog breed of all. Labrador Retrievers are friendly, lovable, smart and great with kids. They are the most popular family dog according to breeder surveys.

Golden Retrievers make great family dogs. These large dogs are extremely kind and gentle by nature and they love to play with people of any age. They can also entertain themselves with their toys so they’re not always bothering a member of the household. Just make sure you have enough space in your home as Golden Retrievers can grow to be as large as 90 pounds.

Yorkshire Terriers, also called “Yorkies” for short, are the smallest terriers of all. These tiny dogs are energetic and very protective of their owners, both adults and children. As a result, they don’t always get along well with strangers and they’re not afraid to let a visitor know. Expect a lot of “yapping” if you adopt one of these dogs.

German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent and loyal dog breeds in the world. Because of their high intelligence and great strength they make a great family pet as long as you have room for a large, lovable dog.

The Beagle has been a popular breed for over a century. These cute, lovable dogs were originally raised as hunting dogs and are known for being kind and gentle. They make great family pets.

Dachshunds are also called “wiener dogs’ and have always been a favorite with adults and children because of their cute, sausage-shaped bodies. With long bodies and short legs they look like they couldn’t move very fast but they love to run and play with their owners and each other. They can be very protective and may nip at strangers and other dogs.

Boxers play well with children, are extremely loyal and are low maintenance. They aren’t the most intelligent dogs, but they make up for it by being energetic, headstrong, and fun-loving. They require strong obedience training while they’re young or they may turn out to be unmanageable when they grow into adults.

Poodles come in both standard and miniature sizes. They are popular dogs and are beautiful, loyal and extremely intelligent.

Miniature Schnauzers are smart, obedient and enjoy non-aggressive play with children and adults. They make great pets if you’re looking for a small, lovable dog.

The best dog breed for families with kids is ultimately a personal decision that you as a parent must make. If possible, help save the life of a dog confined to a shelter or pet adoption facility. You’ll never regret the love and devotion a rescued animal will give you and your children.

How to Stop A Puppy From Barking

Stopping a puppy from barking can be a difficult task, simply because barking is a natural form of communication for puppies. Puppies bark for many reasons: attention seeking, anxiety, boredom or just playing. Puppies and barking are a natural combination.

If you can establish the reasons why a puppy is barking so much, it will be easier to find a solution to the problem.

To figure out why your puppy is barking uncontrollably you first need to determine the situations or conditions that precede an episode of barking. If your puppy is barking at you, it’s usually trying to get your attention. If this is the case, just ignore it and avoid eye contact. When the puppy stops barking you can shower it with all the attention you want.

Don’t talk to your puppy while it’s barking at you and don’t relent and give in if the barking continues. If you do give in, the undesirable behavior will be implanted in the puppy’s brain as the best way to get your attention whenever it wants something.

If a puppy continues to bark while standing over its food bowl it’s just letting you know that it’s guarding its food. Puppies who bark for no discernible reason may simply be frustrated or bored.

If left alone, a puppy often becomes anxious and will bark continuously until its human returns. If you find out that your puppy barks a lot while you’re gone from the house it could be anxious about being alone, it could be bored, or there may be something disturbing it like dogs barking outside or noisy cars and trucks.

If you make your puppy’s surroundings more interesting the unwelcome barking may end. You can also give your puppy different toys to play with every few days, and be sure it gets a lot of exercise. If the puppy barks a lot and seems bored when you’re home try spending a little more time playing with it and giving it the attention it craves.

Stopping a puppy from barking too much will help calm shattered nerves, whether they’re yours or the next door neighbor’s.

Jack Russell Terrier Training Tips

Jack Russell terrier training is essential, especially if you adopt a Jack Russell when it’s a puppy. Like most terriers, Jack Russells were bred to hunt and kill rodents and they have a lot of energy. Because of that energy, they require a lot of exercise, training and mental stimulation to live peacefully in a family situation without driving everyone crazy with their antics.

During adolescence Jack Russells have loads of energy, and it’s almost impossible to train one unless it’s getting the proper amount of exercise; this means up to an hour and a half of active running each and every day.

If not allowed to run full bore and burn up excess energy, Jack Russells will find things to do – things like tearing up cushions on sofas and chairs, ripping up plants in the garden, and chewing on every shoe in the house. It’s easy to understand why an owner needs to be sure that a Jack Russell terrier gets a lot of outdoor exercise.

Jack Russell terriers are easily distracted, and without exercise, those distractions can result in non-stop barking, in the house and outdoors as well.

Jack Russell terriers were bred to be diggers as most rodents live underground. If you don’t want your garden or yard dug up every week, you might want to put a sand box in your back yard and let the dog’s natural instincts for digging take over. You may need to put some of the dog’s toys and bones in the sandbox to spur it’s digging activities.

To stop a Jack Russell from chewing on everything in your house, you’ll have to limit the dog’s access to certain areas of the house during the day when no one is home. When family members are home they can guide the dog away from items you don’t want it to chew on and redirect it to things that are okay to chew on.

The most effective way to accomplish this is to teach the dog a “Leave it” command by holding several treats. Give the dog a couple of treats while saying “Take it.” Then close your fist and say, “Leave it.” Wait for the barking to stop, then give praise and reward with a treat.

Once the Jack Russell learns to obey these commands, you can start practicing with objects the dog likes to chew but should not be messing with. These could be shoes, remote TV controls, or anything lying around the house that seems to be irresistible to the dog’s attention. When the dog obeys your command to leave the object alone, reward it with a treat or one of its chewing toys.

These dogs make great pets, but instituting Jack Russell terrier training and seeing that it has plenty of exercise, will make them a welcome addition to almost any family.

 

Do Dogs Grieve

It may surprise you to know that dogs grieve over the loss of a companion also, whether the companion was a human or another dog.

Humans go through five stages of grief when a loved one dies. These stages were identified by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler Ross as denial, isolation, anger, depression, bargaining, and finally acceptance. Humans don’t necessarily pass through all five stages, or in the same order, because people deal with the loss of someone dear in many different ways.

If your dog has suffered from the loss of a beloved human or canine companion, it isn’t possible to explain to them what has happened or why their human or pet will never return. A dog often becomes confused and has feelings of separation and abandonment. In a dog’s world, all they know is one minute their beloved companion was here and the next minute they are gone.

They frequently express their feelings of abandonment through either one, all, or any combination of denial/isolation, anger, depression, and eventually acceptance.

A dog will grieve over a loss like humans do, but people are usually so caught up in their own sorrow that they fail to see that their pet is also stricken with heartache. Since dogs cannot communicate verbally, we can’t make them understand what has happened by engaging them in conversation. As a responsible dog owner you can offer support and compassion to your remaining pet or pets, and help them pass through the grieving stages as painlessly as possible.

The depth of an animal’s grief generally relates to the strength and duration of the relationship with the deceased animal or person. As their keeper, we need to recognize this and help them pass through those stages as painlessly as possible. After accepting the loss of a companion in a reasonable amount of time, most dogs will recover and resume their regular life.

Dogs express their grief through their behavior. Some days, or every day for some dogs, you may find it sitting or standing patiently at the door waiting for the return of the loved one. Some dogs will hide under a bed, or refuse to leave a room that the loved one occupied. For the majority of dogs it may take several days or weeks to realize the person or dog they are waiting for is not returning to them.

Some dogs will not be interested in eating when they are going through a grieving period. If this happens encourage the dog to eat but don’t force it. When they get hungry enough, they will eat.

Some dogs express their grief by reverting to inappropriate behavior like barking, whining, or crying. To help your pet overcome feelings of grief, pay more attention to it than you normally do. Take it on long car rides, and visit the local dog park so your dog is surrounded by other dogs who aren’t going through any grieving.

Go for long walks together in new places your dog hasn’t been to before, or hasn’t visited in a long time. In the early stages of grieving don’t take it to any places where it used to go with the person or dog who is deceased.

After 4 to 6 months your pet will accept its new routines and schedules and its nature and temperament will return to what it was before it experienced the loss.

Dogs do grieve, so allow your dog a reasonable amount of time to mourn. As the primary guardian of your pet, it’s your responsibility to find new and exciting adventures for your dog so it can gradually return to a normal life.

Sudden Aggression in Dogs

Aggressive dog behavior may take the form of growling, snarling, snapping, biting or lunging at people. It’s very important to determine what is causing the sudden aggression in a dog.

Aggression in dogs can be caused by behavioral issues, medical conditions or both. If a dog suddenly begins to display signs of aggression or hostility, you’ll need to know the cause, or causes, before attempting to help your dog.

Hypothyroidism can sometimes cause a dog to behave aggressively. Hypothyroidism is a medical condition in dogs that causes the thyroid gland to produce less than the normal amount of thyroid hormone. The symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs can include weight gain, loss of energy, hair loss and sudden aggressive behavior.

When a dog is suffering from congenital or neurological problems, it may display aggressive behavior. A neurological problem caused by illness or injury can affect a dog’s judgment and behavior.

Trauma to a dog’s head, epilepsy and brain tumors can also cause sudden aggression and abnormal behavior in dogs.

Seizures that occur in the region of the brain that contributes to aggression can cause sudden behavioral problems in a dog. Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to this condition. The breeds include Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Bull Terriers, Poodles, and Springer Spaniels.

The symptoms of this type of aggression include a sudden change of mood before a seizure, the sudden onset of violent or hostile behavior, dilated pupils, heavy salivating, and aggressive posture. After an aggressive seizure a dog may appear lethargic, sleepy, or depressed.

Obviously, aggressive behavior in a dog must be diagnosed as soon as possible because it usually will continue to get worse and it could also be a sign of something more serious. Contact your veterinarian as soon as you begin noticing any sudden changes in your dog’s behavior or the signs of aggression.

The underlying cause of the problem will have to be diagnosed before any treatment can be planned. The vet will determine what type of treatment is necessary depending on the exact cause of the aggression.

If you have children or other pets, their well-being, or even their lives, could be in danger if the aggressive dog is not diagnosed and treated.

Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatments


It’s fairly easy to determine whether your dog is suffering from allergies. Dog allergies can affect any breed of dog, no matter where you live. The symptoms of dog allergies are the same for all breeds and the treatments for those allergies are usually the same.

Some of the symptoms of dog allergies are: excessive scratching, pawing at the face or eyes; excessive sneezing, continual runny nose, watery eyes, acute coughing, skin rashes or dry, crusty skin, continually rubbing its face on the floor or furniture , and chronic ear infections.

Seasonal allergies affect many dogs and are caused by spores or pollen grains in the air. These allergens are inhaled and sometimes are able to penetrate a dog’s skin.

Seasonal dog allergies usually occur when a dog is between the ages of 1 and 3. However, some dogs don’t develop seasonal allergies until they are 6 to 8 years old.

If you notice allergy symptoms in your dog you’ll need to schedule a vet visit to have blood tests performed. This is the only way to confirm if the dog really does have seasonal allergies or if the symptoms could be related to a disease that has infected the dog.

Two methods veterinarians use to determine if a dog is suffering from allergies are an ELISA test, the most commonly used test to diagnose allergies; and intradermal testing.

To effectively treat seasonal dog allergies, the vet first has to determine the cause of the allergy, and then you’ll need to limit or eliminate exposure to that allergen. Most dog owners whose pets suffer from seasonal allergies will keep the dog out of grassy or flowered fields during pollen seasons and will also keep the grass on their lawn cut short.

The vet may recommend topical ointments to relive the dog’s itchiness and the other symptoms of seasonal allergies. In addition, regular bathing of the dog’s skin will help reduce allergic reactions.

Some dog owners have reported that a change in their dog’s diet reduced the allergies by strengthening the dog’s immune system. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to help in boosting a dog’s immune system.

The vet may also prescribe antihistamines and steroids if the dog’s allergies continue to worsen.

Some vets also use immunization therapy to reduce a dog’s allergic reactions. This is accomplished by injecting the allergen in small amounts in the dog’s system and after a few shots, the dog will begin to build an immunity to the allergens.

The symptoms of dog allergies should not be ignored and treatment should begin as soon as you know for sure that your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies.

Dominant Dogs

Dominant dog behavior usually develops over a period of time. Dominant dogs will often growl or bark at their owners when the dog’s demands aren’t being met.

If there are two or more dogs living in the same household, the dominant dog will be considered by the other dogs as the alpha dog, or leader of the pack. Such dominating dogs often try to gain leadership over their owners also.

To prevent this type of unwanted behavior you must learn how to recognize dominant dog behaviors and take steps to change those behaviors if you want to have an obedient and loving companion rather than a terrorizing monster running around your house.

Some of the symptoms of dominant behavior in dogs are similar to the symptoms of separation anxiety so it is important to distinguish between the two. To determine if your dog is really showing signs of dominating behavior you’ll have to find a way to monitor its behavior to see if it behaves in a dominating manner around other dogs or only when left alone.

If you notice any of the following symptoms of dominating dog behavior you may want to seek the assistance of a professional trainer who can train your dog to be more obedient. If you find that your dog’s disobedience and dominant behavior is resulting in biting and aggression, most trainers won’t work with your dog.

Some of the signs of dominant dogs are:
Always acting stubborn, barking loudly, consistently ignoring your commands, pushing ahead of you whenever you open a door in the house or to the outside, resistance to being walked with a leash, growling and barking when it doesn’t get its way or when corrected for doing something wrong.

It isn’t easy dealing with dominant dogs. If your dog disobeys you and growls at you when you try to correct it, don’t shout or express frustration. You have to remain calm and speak to it in a firm commanding tone.

Although it can be a daunting and challenging task to permanently change the behavior of a dominant dog, it is possible to successfully change your pet’s behavior if you remain calm and persistent at all times during any training sessions.

Thunderstorms and Dogs

Thunderstorms and dogs make a bad combination. It’s common for dogs to suffer from thunderstorm phobia or anxiety if they live in a part of the country subject to summer storms with thunder and lightning.


Dogs with thunderstorm phobia become extremely panicky and overwhelmed with fear during loud thunderstorms. The technical term for this is Astraphobia: the fear of thunder and lightning. Owners who see their dogs experiencing this fear usually feel helpless and frustrated.

Causes of a dog’s phobia of Thunderstorms
There is no way to be certain what causes a dog to be afraid of thunderstorms. There are probably multiple reasons for thunderstorm phobia, and the reasons may even vary from dog to dog. The most obvious reason is the loud noise of the thunder and the bright flashes of lightning. Many dogs suffer from noise phobia, and the thunder is just one of several frightening noises besides fireworks and gunshots that can cause panic in dogs.

It’s also possible that the cause of a dog’s fear may not be limited to noise. Changes in barometric pressure and humidity can affect your dog’s senses and even cause discomfort in its ears. Arthritic dogs or those with other degenerative joint diseases like hip dysplasia, may experience more pain during thunderstorms than they normally do at other times.

Another possible reason for thunderstorm phobia is that the dog associates the thunder and lightning with a traumatic experience it has had. It is possible that something very stressful or frightening occurred in your dog’s past during a thunderstorm.

Signs of Thunderstorm Phobia
If your dog seems anxious, hyperactive, destructive or withdrawn during thunderstorms, it’s probably suffering from thunderstorm phobia. The signs of Astraphobia are fairly obvious and easy to spot in a dog with this phobia. Many dogs will pace, pant or begin whining. Some will stay right by your side seeking your attention. Other dogs may hide and become frozen with fear. Your dog’s fearful behavior may be subtle at first but can become worse with time, eventually becoming full-blown panic attacks that are very dangerous for your dog.

Thunderstorm phobia can cause a dog to urinate and sometimes defecate inside the house out of fear during a storm. Telltale signs of anxiety and fear may begin long before the storm arrives, so take note of any of these signs you may see in your dog during normal weather when the forecast is for stormy weather ahead. Your dog is probably a better weather forecaster than the meteorologist on TV.

Preventing and Treating Dogs With Thunderstorm Phobias
If your dog has a thunderstorm phobia, there are some things you can do to protect it during thunderstorms, or at least minimize its responses to the thunder and lightning.

The most important of course is never leave your dog outside during storms.

Be aware of your own behavior and that of other people in your home. Your dog will react to human anxiety, fear and stress, even if it is not related to the storm. Do your best to remain relaxed. Go about your usual duties. Don’t pay special attention to your dog when it is exhibiting signs of fear or anxiety. Even though your natural instinct is to want to comfort your dog, coddling and praising it only reinforces and rewards the unwanted behavior.

There are ways you can indirectly comfort your dog during thunderstorms. Find a comfortable hiding place for your dog in the quietest part of the house. If you have a dog crate, place the dog’s bed inside and cover the crate with a blanket or sheet to make your dog feel safer.
If your dog does calm down and stops reacting to the storm, respond with calm praise and rewards.

Dogs with severe thunderstorm phobia may benefit from prescription medication used in conjunction with desensitization or conditioning training. Your vet may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication like Xanax (alprazolam) or Valium (diazepam) that can be given at the first sign of a storm.

Because thunderstorm phobia is likely to become worse over time, it’s important to take action when you first notice the signs. Don’t wait to address your dog’s phobia until it is very severe. That simply makes it that much harder to reverse the phobia.

Just as stress is a health risk for humans, the same applies for thunderstorms and dogs. Thunderstorm phobia can become a very serious problem that will adversely affect your dog’s health and quality of life.

Why Do Dogs Chew Their Paws?

Dogs enjoy chewing on lots of things, including their own paws at times. But why do dogs chew their paws?

If a dog has an emotional problem like separation anxiety, it may chew on its paws. Stress is also one of the major causes of why dogs chew their paws and this stress can be triggered by a past event or a continuing irritant in a dog’s environment.

Some of the most common reasons for a dog to be stressed are listed below:
(1) A new person arrives in the family, like a newborn baby, and the dog is frequently ignored;
(2) A new pet is brought into the household;
(3) Abusive behavior by the current dog owner or by a previous owner;
(4) Separation from its owner or abandonment (this can result in separation anxiety and cause a dog to chew on its paws and skin);
(5) A serious lack of affection from the dog’s owners.

There are other factors that can trigger severe stress in a dog and cause it to chew on its paws; but whatever the cause, it’s important to identify it and work to change that motivation as quickly as possible. Once the dog feels comfortable and safe, the chewing on its paws should end.

It’s also possible and quite likely, that dogs who are bored or dogs with too much energy will find a way to occupy their time, and that usually results in destructive behavior, of which chewing their paws is just one example. You can help change this unwanted behavior by making sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and attention.

Chewing the paws can also be a reaction to a skin infection caused by a virus, bacteria or fungi. The dog will try to soothe the itching by licking and chewing at its skin. A vet can prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the skin infection and once the dog has healthy skin again it will usually stop chewing its paws.

An allergic reaction also causes dogs to chew their paws. These allergies could be caused by food or something the dog has inhaled. Antihistamines or steroid creams will ease the itchiness, but you’ll need to determine what the dog is allergic to and eliminate the dog’s access to that product or thing causing the adverse reaction.

 

Treating a Dog With Bad Behavior

Dealing with bad behavior from your dog can be a problem that may seem at times to be too much to handle. Your dog may begin disobeying you in small ways, but that can easily transform into more aggressive actions and poor habits if you don’t put a stop to it.

The key to treating a dog with bad behavior is to learn what is causing your dog to misbehave and that can help you find a solution.

Most pet dogs like to be included in all your activities since they feel as if they are part of the family. Ignoring them or leaving them out of most of your family events can cause separation anxiety, resulting in unacceptable behavior.

Dogs going through their adolescent period will normally try to rebel against your usual routines. If your dog refuses to let you put on its leash or refuses to sit when commanded, it’s an indication that your dog is trying to better its ranking as an alpha dog. In other words, the dog is trying to one-up you in the game of “who’s in charge here.” Giving your pet firm commands while remaining calm will show it who’s in charge and help control its bad behavior.

If you’ve recently acquired a normally calm and friendly breed like a Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever and it suddenly attacks another dog or a person, the problem is not a simple behavioral issue. Aggressive acts and unpredictable behavior like this usually indicates poor breeding practices. It can also be due to several other reasons such as puppies feeling pain from teething, feeling threatened, feeling pain from an injury, prior abuse, or a female dog that is in heat. If your dog is a puppy and nips or bites at you, saying “no” very strongly will usually startle it into quitting the disagreeable behavior.

A dog with bad behavior is not appreciated by anyone. When dogs become overly excited, especially small dogs, they often tend to urinate uncontrollably. This may happen when you begin playing with your dog or when a visitor, whether a stranger or frequent guest, comes into your house. This behavior can typically be traced to the fact that a dog is not being walked and exercised enough and its stored up energy results in urination problems. If you punish your dog and it doesn’t understand what it did wrong, it may urinate out of sheer nervousness.

Begging stems from natural instinct, improper socialization, boredom or desire for your attention. To stop this bad behavior feed your dog on a regular schedule and don’t give it snacks in between meals. Always ignore your dog when it begs.

Chewing on objects is part of the natural teething process in puppies. It may also be attributed to boredom, separation anxiety, undernourishment, or lack of sufficient exercise. If your adult dog is an obsessive chewer, you can put a little hot pepper sauce, or vinegar and hot mustard on items the dog should not be chewing and the taste will be enough to discourage that bad behavior. If your dog is chewing on items that can’t be coated with one of these substances, Petco and PetSmart have products to prevent unwanted chewing of objects.

Having your dog jump on you whenever you arrive home may seem cute, but most friends and guests won’t appreciate the enthusiastic behavior, especially if your dog is a larger breed. Consistently discourage the practice at the first signs of this behavior by voicing a firm “no.” To discourage such behavior, ignore your dog and avoid eye contact when it jumps on you. Tell your dog to “sit” and then reward it with a treat when it obeys. Daily exercise also helps to reduce the dog’s excess energy.

Treating a dog with bad behavior, especially an adult dog will be a lot easier if you think of your dog as being like a two year-old child. It needs to be trained and constantly reminded of what is proper behavior and what is not.