We spoke with Krystal Nierman, owner and director of Dog Psychology and Training Center in Greenville, SC, on what to consider when choosing the best dog for your family. Here are the first two pieces of advice she offered.
Q: Generally speaking, what are the best dog breeds for a family with kids?
A: There really is no perfect breed. All dogs have their own personality regardless of breed. However, there are generalities that can give you a greater chance of success in getting a dog that will be great with kids.
Pit Bulls were known as America's "nanny dog" for 150 years. Golden Retrievers are notorious for being great family dogs. The "Puppy Aptitude Test" by Wendy Volhard is a great resource for helping families to find the best dog.
Q: What traits should a family look for in a rescue dog?
A: It depends on whether you are a family with young children, older children or children who have left the nest. It also depends on the family's energy level. If yours is a new or expecting family, a calm and confident dog would be ideal. If you have older children (elementary to teens) and are an active family, then a dog with a lot of energy might be best.
No matter how old your children are, you never want a fearful, timid dog since these dogs are more than likely to behave unpredictably. The "Puppy Aptitude Test" is also beneficial in choosing a rescue dog.
In parts 2 and 3, Krystal offers insights on selecting the best family dog, including steps families should take with a newly adopted puppy, what a family should do if they have a dog before having kids and what to do if their canine friend is having trouble adjusting to a family's new addition.