Posts Tagged ‘getting a family dog’

When is a good age and time to get a family dog?

Monday, April 16th, 2012

There's room for everybody in this play house!

Raja and I were in Burbank, California over the recent holiday and we had a lovely relaxed stay doing the least adventuresome or touristical activities possible.  Raja made some new friends in the house next door and his playtime with the neighbors made us think about how important having a dog is for children– and how much well-adjusted dogs just love love love well-adjusted kids.

So we explore the question: When is a good age and time to get a family dog?

On the subject of dog age, the answer depends upon whom you are asking.  If you ask the dog, the answer is, “Now, now, NOW!  Give me a forever home now!”  If you ask the experts, the answer is that dogs do best socially and physically if they leave their dog mothers after 12 weeks, certainly no earlier than 8 weeks.  Raja, because of special circumstances, left his mother at 6 weeks.  He never looked back, probably because the smallest puppy in the litter was suddenly the top dog in his new family, but technically 6 weeks may be a little young.  (I couldn’t advise you toward it, but Raja says, “Go ahead.”)

On the subject of human age, well, maybe having a new dog coincide with a new baby would make for extra special chaos. Classically, human beings do badly dividing their attention between a baby person and a baby dog, but if you are superperson….  But seriously, if a child is mentally old enough for empathy and kindness, growing up with a dog is a very healthy element of early childhood.

Empathy and kindness coincide with early writing skills.

On the subject of time, the answer depends upon the rhythms of the household into which the dog is adopted.  For many families, summer vacation is a great time since children will be out of school, adults take summer vacations, and the schedule of life is eased so that people can give time to  socializing a new dog.

If you have been considering having a dog in your life, now, as the last two months of school close in, is a good time to discuss the dog, imagine the dog and research the dog.  If you are looking for a puppy, many pups are born in spring.  Now is puppy season.  If you plan to shop the shelter, be prepared to be less specific about what size and shape you want and just focus on those big eyes.  Which ones call to you most?

Dogs create family style fun everywhere.

On our favorite subject of travel…  if you and your family plan to travel with your dog, you will want to help him or her to be a happy nomad.  Raja and I concur that travel dogs are made not born.  Next blog we’ll begin to tell you how to help a new puppy to become a willing traveler to all destinations near or far.