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I have two kids 5 and 8 years old. For quite a while they've been asking for a dog very very much. I think it's about time to get one. The problem is that I've never had dogs before and I'm not sure what breeds are considered best family dogs. Could you please help me with that? We have a large backyard and my kids are fond of active time spending including all kinds of active games. I guess we'll need a lively dog as well? But I don't want it to be aggressive or destructive. Please advise! Medium size dogs are preferable since I don't know if I'll cope with a large one.
What I would suggest for your very first dog, because you've never had a dog before, is to get a slightly older dog rather than a puppy. With no dog experience, you'll be very hard-pressed to train a dog to behave in the manner that you wish. I would further suggest that you get one that's about 2 to 4 years old. At this age, they are past the really rambunctious playfulness of the true puppy stage, but are not yet too old to want to play at all. Your kids will also have a much easier time with a dog of this age span.
Take your kids with you to choose a dog. Let them pet and play with it. After they have played for about 10 minutes or so, and calmed down again, run the dog through a few basic commands (sit, stay, down, etc.) to make certain that it has at least been partially trained, and to see how well it listens. If you can't get the dog to obey you, then repeat the same process with another dog until you find one that is a good fit for your kids AND for you.
Once you find a dog that fits your family's needs, be sure to keep up on reinforcing the commands. Do this by occasionally working with the dog. Run him/her through some basic commands and offer a cookie or treat for good behaviour. If this isn't done, the dog will forget and become an undesirable pet other than a plaything for the kids.
Anonymous:If this is your first dog and you're not sure how to handle it, perhaps a dog with a naturally low domincance level would be best. Consider a Sheltie, Cavalier, Chinese Crested, Pug, or Poodle... Golden Retrievers and Labs are great too but they're bigger.
But overall I agree with the post above. It's not the breed that matters but how its raised and treated.
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