If you grew up with a dog, you know how much that companionship shapes your youth. What you might not realize, though, is that not all dogs are well-suited for youngins. When you're helping a preteen choose a pooch, make sure that it's a good dog for someone that age.
Fact of the matter is, not all dogs are great with kids. Some breeds look at a kid, even a preteen, and just don't know how to behave themselves. Others, on the other hand, love little ones, so make sure you choose a breed that gets along with young folk. Labradors, boxers, beagles, Newfoundlands and collies are just a few examples of breeds that love young people.
While all dogs need love and attention, others need a lot more in the way of regular upkeep. A short-haired toy breed, for example, doesn't necessarily require hours of exercise every day or much attention in the grooming department. A big, long-haired dog, on the other hand, might need long walks and daily brushing to keep himself in good shape. Don't let a preteen bite off more than he can chew by selecting a dog that, while kid-friendly, might require more maintenance or time than he can provide.
Playing By Ear
Of course, just like not all dogs are the same, not all kids are the same. A good dog for a preteen is one that matches the kid's temperament and style, because just like any other relationship, compatibility is key. For example, if this kid loves to play outside and get physical, a boisterous boxer may be a better fit than the less-energetic pug.
Testing the Waters
If you know a preteen that's interested in a dog but doesn't know what breed is best, help point him toward hands-on opportunities to find out for himself. It's easy for a kid to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of different breeds and styles, but volunteering at an animal shelter will expose him to plenty of different types of dogs. By walking, feeding and playing with different breeds through volunteer work, he can discover for himself what type of dog is most compatible with his lifestyle.
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