Which Are The Best Dogs For Kids; and Which Breeds Aren’t?

Thanks to Pawmetto for the photo.

I get asked this question a lot. “Which dog breed is the best for kids?” Every parent wants the perfect dog for his/her children.

But finding the perfect dog is sometimes hard.

Nature vs. Nurture and Why I Don’t Often Recommend Puppies

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and temperaments, and I am a firm believer that temperament is inherently genetic.  That is not to say that I think that “nurture” and how we treat our pets doesn’t come into play with what kind of dog they grow up to be.

But I have seen six week old puppies with severe aggression issues and since most puppies open their eyes between 9 and 11 days, I can’t imagine that the experiences in those 2 or 3 weeks can really change a young puppy.

And I have seen extremely abused dogs be completely kind and sweet.  And, I have seen emaciated and starved dogs that would never think about being food aggressive.

As a professional dog trainer and specialist on dog aggression I see that most often aggressive or skittish puppies have aggressive or skittish biological mom and dad.

Although I have certainly seen aggressive puppies come from non-aggressive parents this is rarer than puppies that show the same temperament traits as their parents.

This is why I think it is so critical for owners and breeders to breed only temperamentally strong dogs.

Just today I went over to a lady’s home who wanted to sell a 2 year old female Belgian Malinois, and I had a friend that was interested.  However, when I entered her home and then her back yard the dog became very defensive and incredibly skittish.  She would dart between trying to bite me in the butt and hiding behind her “human mom”.

This dog is a “fear biter” in the making.  So is it nature or nurture?  I can’t say for sure, but I am guessing nature has a big part to do with it.

And unfortunately this lady is considering breeding the dog; despite my warning not to.

This is why when I am looking for a dog for a good friend, I often recommend or search for adult dogs either from a shelter or a rescue organization.  Sometimes it is difficult if not impossible to see both the “sire and the dam” (dad and mom) when you go to get a puppy.

puppy training, best puppies for kids

Even Young Puppies can Be Seriously Aggressive

Puppies are a “crap shoot” and their temperaments can change as they develop and work towards adulthood, but with an adult dog usually what you see is what you get.  A confident adult dog usually remains confident and a scared or skittish adult dog often remains that way especially if their triggers or fears are stressed.

So as odd as some of you might find it; I like adult dogs for inexperienced owners or people who have children, instead of puppies.  Yes, even a normally aggressive puppy may bond well with his family but he might become a liability when your children have friends over and let’s face it your kids are going to have other kids over!

Take my puppy for example.  He is 10 months old now, and at this stage in his life he hates people.

When he was 8 weeks to about 5 months, he loved people.  But he has matured and developed and become more like his mom.

His mom is a working police dog, and a very serious one at that.  She also doesn’t like people she doesn’t know.  And, his father is also a “sport” like police dog who is very protective and possessive of his things.

So it is no wonder that when I got him he showed serious signs of aggression and possessiveness.  But at least at that time, he liked people.  And, although I hate that he is not social (I socialized him very well as a baby and until I saw signs of unfriendliness) even as a professional trainer I cannot change his innate temperament.

But, I wanted a competition “sport” police dog and I knew what I was getting into.  He would make a terrible pet and would likely be euthanized for his aggression.  However as a professional and sport dog person, I know how to handle him and keep everyone safe (even if he has to wear a muzzle to do it).

In a “normal” or pet home, he would have likely been euthanized by now.  I don’t even trust him with my step children.  So he spends his time with me on a leash when they are here.

And, I can tell you he leads a charmed life, in the home as a pet; so nurture has nothing to do with his naughtiness!  But it is important for regular normal dog parents to know that we “professionals” can’t fix everything either.  Sometimes we just learn to control things.  And dog trainers are really good at “hiding” behaviors!

Good people get aggressive dogs.  It is so very much easier to blame the owner for abuse or not socializing but in many cases the owners of aggressive dogs do the best they can for the dog that they own but don’t know how to deal with!  I can’t imagine someone getting a dog that is like my puppy and knowing how to deal with him.

Sure people abuse dogs, but this isn’t always the case.

Consider an Adult Dog

puppy training, boxer training, best puppies for kids

Rescue Dogs can make GREAT and Thankful Pets!

So first off, I like adult dogs for homes with kids.  And usually a good rescue organization can help people find a dog that is already actively living successfully with young children.  This makes life safer than a puppy (in my opinion).

Many shelters also, now, temperament test dogs prior to adoption to weed out the dogs that are overly reactive, jumpers, or even food aggressive or possessive over their things.

People think that all dogs that come from a shelter or a rescue has “problems” but their “problems” could be as simple as their owners are moving, or the dog no longer matches the color of the carpet, or for whatever reason the person just never made the dog a priority.

When I trained Service Dogs for adults and children with disabilities, ALL of my dogs came to me as adults 2 years old(ish) and out of shelters.  I never used puppies because I didn’t want temperaments to change after several months and the investment in training lost and I also wanted to make sure they were physically able to do the work.

And, I know if I found hundreds of dogs over the years, in shelters there are others out there!

I always wished that whomever threw their dog away at the shelter would see him/her with me in public someday and realize their dog was now worth $10,000-$20,000!

Don’t discount a dog just because it is an adult!  Remember you miss out on potty training, and that WILD puppy stage, and you have a better idea of what you are getting when it comes to temperament.  And, if the dog grew up with and loved children you are already half way there!

Children are Not all Created Equal

puppy training, best puppies for kids

I can only pray this was photo shopped! This could cause severe aggression in a painful dog

Not all children are created or “parented” equally!

Unfortunately I see a lot of abuse that comes from young kids.  And, some of them are too young to know any better; but lack of parenting skills and not teaching kids to be kind toward animals leads to aggression and bites and the ultimate euthanasia of animals.  It also leads to emotional trauma and the disfigurement of many children.

Just recently I was told a story about a mom who had gotten a kitten for her 2 year old (I have never seen a 2 year old that “needed” a kitten nor one who could truly appreciate one).

But there were no lessons about “handling the cat kindly” so the 2 year old would grab the kitten WAY too hard and then not release it until the child was bitten.  The mother was considering getting rid of the cat.

And then one day she looked down to see her toddler covered in blood.  Furious that the kitten had bitten her child she frantically searched for the wound.  But, it wasn’t the child’s blood it was the kitten’s.  The child had broken the kitten’s jaw nearly off!

How does anyone allow this to happen? I OFTEN wish that penalties were greater for animal abuse and neglect!  The story makes me physically sick every time I share it; and yet it needs to be shared so that people can learn.

Take a normally social dog who loves kids and then allow a child to jump on it, trip and fall on it, stomp it, kick it, and poke it in the eyes continuously and you will see a social dog go to a fearful dog, and then an aggressive dog.

It would be like living in a prisoner of war or torture camp.  At first you go in a normal person, and soon you end up having your spirit broken, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and resorting to aggression to save yourself.

This is how these dogs feel and why children get mauled.  And, this is a clear case of nurture gone wrong.

A child is seen as an equal and therefore is more likely to be bitten for bad behavior.

So the next thing to do as a parent is to make sure you have a child that is kind toward all living things.  And if your child is too young and you have trouble keeping an eye on him/her (first kids need to be kept tabs on) and if this is the case your child is too young to appreciate a pet; perhaps wait until he/she is older before getting a pet.  Let’s face it parents of young children don’t need the stress of training and cleaning up after something else anyway!

The behavior of the children and respect they have for animals and the knowledge and parenting of the parents is more important than the pet!  For more on teaching children to be kind to animals and mindful of dogs and educating others click here.

So You Need a Puppy

puppy training, best puppies for kids

Thanks Photosof.com for this incredibly cute photo

Heck, I like puppies too!  I like being in control of their learning and their experiences!  But I also know how to deal with a difficult puppy!  And if you’d like to see how I’d do that, I made these videos.

So sit down and make a list.  Figure out what you are going to expect from a puppy or an adult dog throughout his life.

Is there a sport you have in mind; hunting, obedience, protection, herding or agility?

Are you active?  Do you go hiking or running or are extremely active, all of the time?

Or, do you like to hang out with your family and chillax and watch TV or movies often?

Now do some research on the web about what kind of dog will fit your lifestyle specifically and will want to join you in your adventures.

But most people should avoid “working” dogs or “working dog” lines, unless you want to compete in whatever they are talking about.

A “hunting” stock Labrador Retriever is going to drive a sedentary family NUTS!  Anytime you see “working dog or working stock” before a listing this means that the dog probably has crazy drive and energy and is not going to be happy sitting around.  This goes for herding dogs, hunting dogs, protection dogs and the like.

A professional can deal with working dogs but a regular dog person doesn’t usually always have what it takes to live with these dogs unless they are involved in the “working dog world” or need the dog to work.

I wouldn’t even want a “hunting” stock Labrador or Golden unless I was going to do hunt competitions.  That would be too much energy even for me!

If you like chillaxing a “hound” may be better for you; they too enjoy some snuggling and a good TV show or animal planet marathon.

 

getimpulsecontrol

Breeds to Avoid and Breeds to Research if You Have Children

puppy training, best puppies for kids, pitbull training

Some Pitbulls are Great with Kids

Several years ago I would have advocated for Pit Bull or Rottweilers with kids.  But nowadays ruthless people are overbreeding both breeds.  Not only can you end up with an aggressive dog or an overly protective dog (neither or which is good for young kids unless you are a professional and know what you are doing) you can also end up with a dog with severe health issues like hip dysplasia or a tendency toward cancer (also sad for kids who love their dog).

I would also not recommend crazy herding dogs; so if you get a “working” stock border collie you will likely end up with a dog that chases and nips your kids.  If herding dogs are not stimulated they often find their own job to do, and herding kids is one of their favorite sports.

Aloof breeds; Akitas, Chows, Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, and the like are not something that will want to share their space with visiting “friends” of your child.  We had a Chow when I was a kid, and one night when a friend spilled a little bit of her milkshake on the carpet and was wiping it up my Chow ran and bit her… not good!  My dog could tolerate her being what she considered “normal” like sitting, walking, standing but as soon as the picture was not normal; bent over and scrubbing the carpet the dog became very aggressive.

The above also goes for extremely protective breeds.  You may want to feel that your family is safer with a guard dog… but having friends in and out constantly increases the risk of having your dog bite doing something that feels natural to him.

I would also stay away from very small dogs.  I just read an article that stated that a study that involved researchers from the University of Pennsylvania as well as 6,000 dog owners found that Dachshunds had the highest incident of biting followed by the Chihuahua and then the Jack Russell.

The reason that you don’t hear about this on the news is because they are small dogs and rarely inflict enough damage to need hundreds of stitches or reconstructive surgery and therefore most bites are not reported.  Small dogs, in general, are often less tolerable of children and their antics and childlike behaviors; they are often worried about being stepped on or grabbed so they get defensive and aggressive to keep that from happening.

Plus a child stepping on a small dog on accident could break or even kill it.

Breeds to Consider

puppy training, best puppies for kids

Elkhounds a breed that is not well known, but one I adore!

I personally love Mutts!  They have so much to offer and usually get the best of whatever breed they are mixed with and tend to be healthier.  Although I would have never chose a Chow as a Service Dog… I often took Chow mixes from shelters because they passed the temperament tests.

One of my favorite breeds is the Greyhound when it comes to living with kids.  They are mellow, sweet and usually tolerant of children.  They are happy to lay around the house all day with you or to go for a walk (in moderate weather or a sweater) or a run or a hike.  They have thin skin, so they can be easily scratched or injured but are very resilient and most are saved from race tracks and live with rescue families who want only the best for their new owner and the dog.

I also love Bassett Hounds.  Although their brain is in their nose and they can’t always be trusted off leash they make wonderful house “sloths” and are very mellow and tolerant.

Elkhounds are another breed that I love that aren’t very well known.

I like collies although they are “herding” dogs the instinct to herd has often been mellowed out by breeding good family collies together to make a wonderful family pet.

Of course the Labrador and Golden Retriever are high on the list and several other “sporting” dogs.  However care needs to be taken that these retrievers are given the emotional and mental stimulation and exercise they demand.  Retrievers and sporting dogs like the Weimaraner and Vizsla and Brittney Spaniels are great companion dogs, they need serious training and stimulation to activate that brain that was bred to hunt all day!  These are very active dogs by default!

I also love Pugs!  Although they aren’t the healthiest breed can still “break” easily with small children; I can’t help but love their sweet temperaments!  And for older children I like Papillons (if you want a small dog).

I also love Newfoundlands and Boxers although both can have health issues and Boxers are known for being super active!!

puppy training, best puppies for kids

Petey from the Little Rascals

It All Comes Down to The Individual Dog and Your Experience Level

And what you need in a dog as far as activity.

There are great Pit Bulls, German Shepherds and Rottweilers that can be wonderful pets.  And I have likewise been called on many emergency “bite” calls and assessments for Golden Retrievers.

The most important part is the individual dog and the genetics of the puppy (how their parents like people, etc.).

Take Your Time

Do your research visit several dogs or puppy litters until you know exactly what you want; and don’t just fall in love with the first thing you see or you might be putting your children in danger!

And don’t bring your kids until you know which dog you will be getting.  Kids fall in love with any dog and want it!

Parents need to make rational informed decisions when it is as important as selecting a new family member that they will have for the next 10-20 years!

What do you think?

Please help to share this so people can find the right dog or puppy for their family!

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Comments

  1. THANK YOU that was VERY GREAT reading !!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    SM Reply:

    I have an 11 mo old Boykin Spaniel I hunt dove and quail with. Maybe not all, but Beau is very social with people, children and other dogs. He is a wonderful house pet. I met his biological parents prior to getting him as a six week old puppy and they are both of the same temperament. Guess I got lucky.

    [Reply]

  2. Ruth Brown says:

    Standard Poodles are great with Kids.

    [Reply]

    h mclaughlin Reply:

    i strongly agree standard poodles are great dogs for children they are the best dogs ever

    [Reply]

    Nancy Reed Reply:

    Yes they are! I have had 3 Standards in the past 25 years and find them the best. Now that I am retired they are very happy to share a more sedentary lifestyle. I have a new MOYEN size female and she is wonderful… A little larger than a miniature and smaller than a standard… a great size!

    [Reply]

    Nancy Reed Reply:

    Standard Poodles are the best ! No one ever mentions this breed as a pet, but they are my favorite. I have had 3 females over the past 25 years… and the current ‘lady of the house’ is more than content to share my retirement lifestyle with me. I also recently rescued a ‘Moyen’ size.. (between a miniature and a standard) She had a hard life in a puppy mill but after about 10 months with me and Godiva, she is very ‘normal’ and thinks she is a standard. All of my dogs have been very good watch dogs and easy to train.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Sometimes they are too smart for most people 😉

    I trained several as service and guide dogs but they certainly had a mind of their own 😉

    [Reply]

  3. Linda Q says:

    Wish I had read this last year!!!
    We have a Siberian husky and she has so much energy and is so stubborn. I have her relatively well trained in all areas except jumping on people and walking beside me on a lead (almost there with the walking) she just see things cat/dog/bird and she was off pulling. I love her to bits but I do sometimes regret going from a placid, lazy cavalier King Charles to a husky, and we thought we had done our homework on breeds as our youngest was only 8 yrs old….

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Remember Huskies were bred to pull sleds all day and to live outside in a cold climate. Neither of which makes them the go to for pethood.

    However with some training and maturity they can be taught when to and not to pull. I would get a cart or something and teach her to pull when you say it is okay… that way she gets to use her instincts and you learn to control that aspect of her life!

    [Reply]

    Luann Johnson Reply:

    To Minette and Linda,

    I have a Siberian and use to say the same thing that i wish i had a breed that wasn’t so stuborn and pulls me when we walk. But now I feel this is the best breed that I could ever have. Mine use to jump on people when walking into my house. I tell everyone to ignore, don’t talk to her, turn away from her, for 5 minutes..I do this also and she doesn’t jump anymore…it took a few weeks but worth the results.
    ‘For the pulling on the lead..my husky would pull my back out…now she walks next to me on a loosh lead..It is all training to heel, and lot’s of practice, make it fun, and if you feel frustrated or your dog then stop…try later…If she tries to walk ahead..meaning if she takes one step leaving your left side..you need to correct her or just stop walking until she goes back into heel. NEVER let her go in front of you EVER again..even leaving threw doors and gates..you have to establish that you are the leader. Then she will follow. Excersize her by letting her run in a closed area before training and everyday…routine is best..MY siberian still gets distracted around other dogs, cats birds, squirrels evern people who jog or walk ahead of us….You have to train her to “Watch Me” and get her attention ASAP with a squeaky toy or treat. This takes time but it is starting to work for me.

    Don’t give up the Siberians are loyal, fun family dogs, but will protect you on the leash if she is the leader…you have tpo become the leader…Good luck

    [Reply]

    Luann Johnson Reply:

    Also like Minette stated let her be a Siberian..let her pull and play and enjoy being a dog…She will know when to pull and when not to and would be a easier dog. My Siberian pulls us on a scooter and I have a bungy leash with jogging set up and she can pull on that when we run together..But when I say Heel..she stops the pulling and sits at my left side…

    [Reply]

  4. I am not in total agreement with all of your statements above.I am a breeder of what is now called “English” Labrador Retrievers, which are the Labs whose lines are from the Conformation/Show lines rather than the hunting lines. After puppyhood, and as you mentioned, good genetic temperament background, they are excellent family pets. The main component other than proper breeding is proper training with positive reinforcement methods and puppy socialization. I tell my potential clients that they get back ten-fold the time,consistency and energy that they invest in proper training. They will have a wonderful family member.

    If the parents are responsible and will take the time, be aware and involved, raising children with a puppy is much easier than with an adult dog. They grow up together, and they each should be being taught boundaries, kindness and respect. The adult dog, being the size that it is, can overwhelm a small child. I also am not comfortable with a small child who is eye level with an adult dog who may not be used to children. I do like adult dogs for adults without children or retired adults. That has been my experience over the last 36 years.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    That is why I said adult dogs with a good history of living with children.

    And I have taken hundreds of adult dogs out of shelters (of all breeds) and successfully made them in to Service Dogs. My drop out rate was MUCH less than those organizations that raise puppies!!

    [Reply]

  5. Cathy Cappello says:

    I am very happy for your success rate. You are a professional trainer and have the ability to recognize certain traits. How does a novice potential pet owner know when it is being given accurate information? The rescue organization may not have been given accurate information when the dog was turned in. I am an advocate of rescuing any unwanted animals, wild horses included. But what I am becoming aware of more and more these days is many persons’ lack of knowledge or undertanding of what they are undertaking and their responsibility, be it a puppy or a rescued adult.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Most rescue or foster dogs live with a family and the rescue organization doesn’t want the dog back so if they think it is not going to be good with kids, they are going to tell people because it is heartbreaking, time consuming, and expensive to have unsuccessful adoptions.

    I temperament tested dogs in shelters and now many shelters are doing it as well and they too do not want to be responsible for bites and euthanasias.

    Anyone working in these settings know not to listen to the owner who is relinquishing (unless it is for a bite) but to do their own tests and socialization to see where the dog should live and under what conditions.

    [Reply]

  6. Éric says:

    We got a Pyrenees mountain dog, after reading in many places that they are good with kids, and protective of their home and family, which is something we wanted, living in the country. And we have tons of space for her to run as well.
    She’s now 12 months old, still barks too much and gets too excited when one of us comes back home, but she’s very, very good with the kids (7 months, 3 and 4 years old) and getting better and better overall.
    Do you have any experience with them, advice, caveats?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I like Pyrs too!! I didn’t list them because they are KNOWN for barking at EVERYTHING and most people can’t or won’t learn enough to deal with that, but it is part of their genetics (being flock guarders).

    I would keep her inside more than outside so she barks less and then take her for scheduled exercise so you learn to control her behaviors while still giving her the exercise she needs.

    Most have great temperaments and are very gentle!

    [Reply]

    Stephen Reply:

    We must be lucky or maybe it was the breeder (“The Natural Homestead Great Pyrenees” Google search) ours is only 15 weeks old, he and all of his siblings were put through several tests, the breeder does not allow anyone to pick a puppy. She uses the results of the tests for placement based on the questionnaire filled out by you to determine if the dog is a good fit for your home.

    We are a family on acreage with 4 kids and our puppy tested exceptionally well for a family dog with less of the LGD traits. He doesn’t bark much at all in fact our Maltese growls at him and he will get a fairly quiet ruff and a hop trying to get her to play with him. Sometimes to mess with him I will bark or howl and he will whimper at me.

    When introduced to a White Shepard his evening, the white shepherd ( Who has shyness issues that led me to your site ) viciously barked at him and while he was excited that he had someone to play with, did not return the bark but simply wagged his tail, put his head in my lap, whimpered and started to dance around in his big goofy excited dance.

    He did later let out his light playful ruff, but I told him no and he just looked at me and stopped. Call me crazy but I think the right breeder plays a big part in the pairing process. Oh and a non lazy owner who corrects unwanted behavior in a consistent firm manner not just when they finally get irritated but each and every time until it is learned that the behavior is not accepted.

    [Reply]

  7. Cathy Cappello says:

    Thank you for your informative replies.

    [Reply]

  8. Corbun says:

    One of my dogs is good with children, she is Rosey a mixed breed border collie, cocker spaniel the other dog I have is a Chiwawa named Sam. He is not good with children he barks and tries to bite.

    [Reply]

  9. Marianne says:

    Hi. You didn’t say anything about beagles? What do you think? Would love to know your opinion though it is too late! Ha Ha! But still I would love to know your thoughts. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Some beagles are great and some are not. Some can be snappy. Also they have that barking BAY that a lot of parents don’t put up with well.

    AND, they eat almost anything… even if it is not food so with kids they are in danger of eating toys and having them get stuck.

    But I have seen and worked with many wonderful Beagles.

    [Reply]

  10. Kristie walker says:

    We have a English staffy but he is quite a strong boy and not even two yet although we can’t let our
    Four year son play with him because he gets to excited and jumps not realizing his strength and still nips
    Do you think he will grow out of it? Or have any tips on how to settle him down?
    I absolutely love bull breeds especially the staffys
    My dog is like a second child I love him to pieces it’s just sad because our son can’t come out the back
    To play with him/ us when we do 🙁

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Exercise him!!! A good run, or have him pull a tire or heavy rope etc to give him a good work out so he is tired. Tired dogs are much less likely to jump.

    Get a gentle leader to use on his snout to control the jumping and keep him from nipping.

    Then have your son get involved with some training, this will make him look less like a puppy and more like a leader so there will be more respect.

    You hold the leash and double handle if you need to and keep an eye on them but I am guessing this will help and Bully Breeds LOVE to pull!!!

    [Reply]

  11. lynne jones says:

    Our sons grew up with working breed springer spaniels but the only times we had a puppy we also had an adult dog. They put up with all sorts of children’s handling with no aggression. However,now we are retired we have a springer puppy. She,is now 10 months and is training well but she has been quite aggressive when she gets excited. She’s calmer now and we love her to bits but would’t leave her unsupervised with a young child.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Some Springers are born with a condition called “Rage Syndrome” when they seemingly get aggressive for no reason. It is usually because of a seizure disorder, the seizure causes the rage and aggression, so if it continues write down what happened prior to the incidence and how long it lasted do some research and see your vet for some help.

    [Reply]

  12. For just on 25 years we had pure bred German Shepherds. Usually we had 3 as pets at the same time. All were brought into the home as puppies and yes, I had inspected the bitch and dog beforehand. I was not interested in show dogs, just dogs with a sound temprement. I was inexperienced when I got the first bitch, but was helped by reading and getting advice from other dog owners. These wonderful dogs were involved from day one as the children were born. Never pushed aside, but also had to be gentle. The children grew up never allowed to pull tails, sit on dogs, or otherwise hurt them. We never had an incident!
    I still have German Shepherds and they are great with my granddaughter.
    So, do some investigating, love and discipline your dog, and teach your children respect and compassion. It works.

    [Reply]

  13. Marge M. says:

    When I retired, after owning many cats (most of whom had passed away), I decided to get a dog for companionship and long walks. I researched and decided to get a Papillon (my condo complex had a 20 lb dog weight limit). Went to a breeder who was offering an adult Papillon. One look between that dog and myself and I knew she did not want to live with me. Her last litter (she had been bred about 4 times, the breeder said) was just ready to go; I looked them over and there was one that instantly bonded with me. She turned out to be incredibly smart and eminently trainable — three tries and she has it — and also loves agility. Every day I thank God for Lily. She has a companion now also, my second dog, Merlin, a miniature Australian Shepherd. They get along well together and he defers to Lily, although Merlin turned out much larger than the breeder said he would be (now 16 inches tall and 32 lb.; Lily is 9 lb.). He is a bit stubborn and not so easily trained (27 tries end counting…) and prefers men rather than women (makes me a bit jealous sometimes). But Merlin is still a wonderful dog. At the dog park he first goes around and greets each person by sitting in front of them (and expects to be petted in return) before playing with the other dogs. So I am twice blessed.

    I really enjoy your blog and have benefited from your recommendations.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    My dog Snitch (who is deceased now) loved men!!! He was a Belgian Malinois (herding dog) and when I would take him to the beach if his dad had been deployed for a few weeks he would take his tennis ball and drop it on the chest of sun bathing men… so hilarious. I think he scared a few of them but it was like he needed his “man” fix! It made me jealous too, but sometimes we can only love them and learn to adore their weirdness 🙂

    [Reply]

  14. zoe says:

    We have a jack russel crossed with a lakeland terrier. we got him when he was 9 weeks old (he is now 3)we did see both parents and they were very friendly and laid back. our dog (doodles) is fantastic when it comes to going out and socialsing with other dogs. we dont have kids so when our nieces or nephews come round all he wants to do is get cuddles and a little play time and stops after 10 mins and doesnt bother, if its a baby he just has his normal sniff then leaves them. he is part of the family and everybody that meets him falls in love with him, which makes us proud parents. i did enjoy your article though as i love reading what other dog lovers say about other breeds.

    [Reply]

  15. pierre says:

    Your thougts about Shit zus?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Some of them can be wonderful and others can be intolerant of things like brushing and grooming and can be a little snappy.

    If you want one, be consistent and kind and teach them slowly that brushing and handling is a great thing so they don’t develop intolerance. And, watch them with kids, they are small so it is easy to step on their fur or on them and hurt them.

    [Reply]

  16. Linda Buxton says:

    Keeshonds are wonderful family pets. Just large enough to be protective but also small enough to easily be a child’s companion. Super sweet personalities, easy to train and very intelligent. I highly recommend them.

    [Reply]

    Lynda Brown Reply:

    I always wanted one of those but did not know how they would work out with kids.

    [Reply]

    Gayle Reply:

    I have had mostly mixed breed or mutts and loved them all, but at one time I had a Keeshond and a toy American Eskimo who were the best of friends and adored each other, but whereas the Kees loved all dogs and humans and was the sweetest and most adored dog I have ever had, the Eskie loved only those she considered family. She snapped at strangers, dogs and humans, and even my niece and nephew who were not babies, but young. She only accepted you as family if you lived in my home for a month or more. Based on what I heard from other owners that seem fairly common with the Eskie breed.

    But I would so recommend Kees, my niece had her picture in her wedding reception slides, though the dog had long passed over the rainbow bridge. But I will say both my purebreds had lots of medical problems and cost me thousands, I mean well over 10 thousand some years, in vet bills. I so miss my Kees and yearn for another, but I am sticking to rescue mutts, it makes me feel good, saves lives and they have had no serious medical problems. And I foster so I usually know what I am getting when I decide to adopt.

    [Reply]

  17. Janelle says:

    We currently have an almost 2 year old Great Dane and while she loves to lay around and sleep all day she also can go completely nuts when the doorbell rings (we are working on her learning to lay down when there’s someone at the door). I’ve found that with our neighbour kids (8 and 6 years old) she does really well with them outside in the backyard unleashed so they can all run around and she won’t jump on them or put her paws up. But as soon as they come in the house she gets really excited and jumpy even after playing outside, which can be hard to handle since she is so large. When she meets people, especially kids, on a walk she shoves her face into them and nuzzles. I’ve brought many different treats on walks and bribed her at home with her favourites, trying to teach her to stay “off” new people but the treats are never as good as the new “friend”. With adults it’s easier because they can be asked to ignore her and that works really well till she calms down but with kids I’m always scared she’s going to knock them over and they almost always get licked in the face because they’re eye level with her. What’s the best way to introduce her to new children especially when they are afraid of her size?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Kids are like dogs sometimes you have to let them work at their own pace and never force them. Scared kids and adult put of that fear pheromone that dogs don’t understand and can freak them out!! So never force and teach your dane to give you eye contact and focus so she is too busy looking at you to like young ones in the face!

    [Reply]

  18. Art Koppenhafer says:

    Hi,

    My guy’s name is “Max”, he’s a Whippett, 2 yrs old, I adopted him from A.P.L.when he was 8 months old. I’m 82 yrs old,my Wife Dolores is in a nursing home and my Daughter said I needed an Animal companion and the result is Max. I’ve had dogs nearly all of my adult life and Max is the most intelligent of them all. I should say,” he adopted me”. He is my constant companion and I swear he understands the english language the
    only problem is , “he can’t talk”. When I’m on the computer, he has to sit on my lap, when I sit in a chair and watch T.V. he must be in the chair with me. All in all, the Good Lord was watching and he paired Max
    and I together. I love Animals ( dogs)and I’m sure the Lord knew this.
    I never knew “bonding” could happen so quickly but I can testify to it.
    The Sad part is to see all the “Pets” at A.P.L.that need a home and a Loving family. Also, very sadly there are many Military Dogs being destroyed by the Government because of no one to adopt them after serving faithfully for our Country.

    [Reply]

  19. Dorothy says:

    Old English Sheepdog is a great breed with kids. They do require a lot of grooming and exercise but they are big love bugs..

    [Reply]

  20. marlene says:

    I have 4 wonderful grandchildren that arrived in a 2 year period. Around the same time I was ready for another dog after my two loyal devoted miniature poodles died, the last at age 16. I had been alone a year and wanted a little dog. What I really wanted was a Yorkie. Not the very little yorkie, but an 8 pounder so it wouldnt be as delicate. I was told to socialize the dog with adults and other dogs, and to expose the puppy to children when the dog was 3 months old. That if I adopted an adult dog there could be surprises. It worked well. Lola is almost 2 years old, socialized with my grandchildren, does not bite or nip, and wants to play with them. She rarely barks in the house (she knows she will receive negative attention), and instead of barking she speaks to us through bells or her wonderful little yodling voice. I am not an expert on getting puppies ( and year 1 was a wild year, and told me that no more puppies after this) but this little yorkie was a good choice for me…..and my grandchildren. ** this is the first dog I have ever purchased, all of my other dogs have been rescues so breed was a huge decision….

    [Reply]

  21. Elizabeth says:

    I find King Charles Cavelier Spaniels make great pets for young family’s. They are amenable and relatively easy to train and will both join their owners in an active lifestyle and relax on the sofa.

    [Reply]

  22. julie says:

    How do you get a dog to stop barking? we have a dog that barks when she is afraid. She is 8 months old and barks alot…any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Tony Reply:

    Read chets hands off program! Or k9 mind program not sure which covers barking but I have found all his stuff AMAZING! All makes sense and you get back ten fold what you put in. Our husky/bull mastiff cross learns so fast when she has to use her brain. You almost hear the cogs whirring when she has to ‘work out’ what she did to get the ‘click’ on new behaviours. Plug over – thanks Chet. U rock!

    [Reply]

    Richard Reply:

    Hi Julie

    Get s copy of the book “What is Your Dog Telling You” by Martin McKenna.

    Every dog owner should read it. It explains how to “talk” to your dog and controls such problems.

    Richard

    [Reply]

  23. Cristina says:

    I am very disappointed at the reasons you give for NOT adopting a pit bull type dog.

    A professional in the field of dog training perpetuating the stereotype — that’s a switch! Masking your reasons with concerns of possible health issues — come on! Any breed, especially pure bred, will have chances of some sort of health issue.

    Pit bulls (which isn’t even a breed) are known to be wonderful family dogs, and especially tolerant of children. Shame on you!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I listed my reasons and I stand behind them. There are many people breeding this breed to just make money and be aggressive and fight. I don’t think it is the best choice for the inexperienced. Aggression has escalated immensely in the past 10-20 years, there is no denying that.

    I also love Pit Bulls (Which are a UKC Breed) and the mixes there of but a lot of people don’t know how to handle them.

    I even posted a picture of one with a child snuggling and said there are good individuals. And I have written several articles against breed discrimination and even trained some 17 years ago as Service Dogs.

    But I think bad people have changed the breed and now you have to be very careful.

    And yes, health is a big thing for me so I also didn’t recommend English Bulldogs or Bernese Mountain dogs for the same reason.

    [Reply]

  24. Mary Beth Mahoney says:

    We love Great Pyrenees. We do not have small children or other pets, but interact regularly with other families that do. AND we have heard numerous stories from other families that have Pyrs with children that they are great. Ours are incredibly cuddly. We are training them for work (as visitors) for elderly in nursing homes and children in hospitals. They are herding dogs so I would watch carefully in a child’s transition between babyhood to walking as a toddler.

    [Reply]

  25. Lucette says:

    Thank you for your information, we have a 18 months old little pug. He is very charming in all, so cute. His only inconvenient: he lost his hair very much, if we would have a solution to this problem it would be nice. Do you have any suggestions ?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Your vet should have access to a vitamin called 3V caps and they are my FAVORITE!! It takes a while because it works from the inside out so it may take several weeks or a month or more. But the vitamin A&D and fish oils are awesome. Many dermatologists recommend them for dogs with allergies.

    If you don’t want to invest in them Fish Oil is good too, but not nearly as effective.

    [Reply]

  26. Carol says:

    I have a ten month old Westie. Even though she is on the active side, she is not negatively aggressive. The children from next door would come over, which she loved. She showered them with kisses..and never with her teeth. I may be a grandma soon for the first time and will certainly keep my eye on her behavior with a baby. Thank you for your article.

    [Reply]

  27. Coralie says:

    Excellent information!
    A big thank you for the good advice. I will make it available to as many people as possible, dog owners and non dog owners, because there is so much false information about shelter dogs and certain breeds “known” for aggressive behavior.

    Also a lot of untruths about buying puppies because many people think puppies can be trusted more!

    Of course there are exceptions, we just need to do a thorough investigation before taking on the great responsibility of giving a pet a forever home.

    [Reply]

  28. Leslie says:

    We have a wire-haired pointing griffon – a gun dog. He’s one year old and as long as he get’s his exercise every day, he’s a mellow dog! He especially likes to sit on children?!

    [Reply]

  29. Dennis Mills says:

    l have had many dogs in my life mongrels, lris setters american cocker field spanial l am an hardent dog lover Now l have a Bichon Freise believe me he hasn,t a mean streak in his body, thinks every one his is long lost freind, same with dogs. lick you to death, always has is nose on the ground sniffing away. Everyone just loves him, you can take anything away from him move his food never heard him growl. lt really upsets him should ever be cross with him, they are a wonderful breed.
    Signed Dennis Mills.

    [Reply]

  30. Karen says:

    We have had a Boston Terrier for almost 2 years now and adore her! We did get her as a pup and worked very hard on house breaking and socializing. I have 2 boys, 11 and 13 at the time we added her to the family, so it had to be a dog that would like lots of noise and activity. I also wanted a dog that could do a bit of running and hiking. And, last but not least we wanted a dog that could relax a bit and be small enough to take in the car all the time. I did research a ton because I wanted a dog that would be everyones dog not just mine. The end result was our Boston Terrier “Venice” our new family member and she is fantastic!!!! She has a wonderful temperament loves everyone who comes into our home, loves to be with us but does fine on her own or in her crate. I don’t work so she is not alone very much however. She does great in the car – just lays down and doesn’t jump around (I did train her early on being in a dog seat with a harness attachment). I did read that some Boston’s can be very hyper – we are not finding this to be so, but I do walk her 3-5 miles a day. The only thing I can think of to a down side is that she is a bit of runner when I take her off leash. But, all in all I think she is a wonderful option for an active family with kids.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    She is not hyper for you because you are giving her what she needs with exercise 🙂 Good for you!

    [Reply]

  31. Kathi Kelley says:

    Very good information! As an experienced dog owner and rescuer I fully agreed with no puppies, mutts are great, and each dog is an individual. I have seen many aggressive pit bulls, yet I had a 76-lb. pit bull that loved children, especially toddlers, and wanted them climb all over him. I also had a beagle mix that so loved babies, she would follow them around, let them pull her ears or chew on her lips, and just get that dazey look that says “This is heaven.” I was raised by a mixed terrier that adopted me and loved me and my family, tolerated other kids, and saved both 2-yr-old me and (10 yrs later) 2-yr-old niece by chasing us out of street, then was hit by car (survived both times). I think the best advice is train the kids first on kindness, then train the dog!

    [Reply]

  32. Kathi Kelley says:

    Great information! As an experienced dog owner and rescuer, I fully agree with no puppies, mutts are great, and each dog is an individual. My best dog with children was a beagle mix that so loved babies, she would seek them out, let them pull and chew on her ears and lips, and just sit there with that dazey look that says, “This is heaven.” I had a 76-lb. pit bull that thought he was a great jungle gym for toddlers. I was raised by a mixed smooth terrier that twice saved 2-yr-olds from cars and was hit herself both times (injured but survived). But I have also seen each of these breeds that I would not let near a small child. The best advice is train the child first, then train the dog!

    [Reply]

  33. Laura Douglas says:

    In my life I’ve had Cocker Spaniels,German Shephards,Dashunds(standard and minature),mixed Keeshound/Elkhound amd Basset Hounds. And now I have 3 Papillions. From the Cocker Spaniel to the Basset Hounds I would say were all great family dogs. My Papillions are definetly for a non children family or for a family with older children that will understand how delicate they are. My KeeshElkhound was like a second mama to my son. We use to put her leash thru his belt loop on pants when we would all go for a walk and she would walk him slowly. Of course with us close by.

    [Reply]

  34. Pamela Kutscher says:

    I grew up with a collie (lassie type) and he was a great family dog–so tolerant. We were the same age and I cried so hard when he died at age ten of kidney disease. Of course our parents required that we children learn respect for animals! And this was in the days before puppy mills–our dog was from a show string but didn’t quite have the physical qualities for a show dog.

    In my adulthood, I never had children, but the dogs I’ve had (Pekingese, Doberman, German Shepherd, Boston Terrier, Sheltie mix)–have all been good with kids–with supervision of course–I think this is key. There are no “foolproof” breeds. Parents need to understand that they can’t just turn their kids loose with a dog (especially a puppy or a new dog) and expect the best to happen.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    exactly!

    [Reply]

  35. debi says:

    I adopted a choc lab at 31 days old. She went through several bouts of agression as she has matured. I always have kids around my house. The way we dealt with it is absolutely no yelling, hitting but quick and firm correction. We used a cloth muzzle, a leash (even in the house) and a kennel. She learned very quickly agression was not an appropriate response. She still ahs moments where she gets too excited. Just showing her the leash and giving her the look fixes it immediately. She is almost 3 and a delight!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    puppies separated from their mom too early often have aggression problems because mom wasn’t there to teach them to be gentle and other manners.

    Be very careful with cloth or mesh muzzles as it makes it hard for some dogs to breathe and they can over heat and die.

    But I am happy about your success!

    [Reply]

  36. jim patterson says:

    We have a lhasa apso/pomeranian 75/25 mix who was 6 years old when we adopted him. He came from a pet store originally so we know exactly when he was born etc. When the original family then had three children and he had seizure problems, they gave him up for adoption. We observed his interaction with children which was important because of our grandchildren. We decided we could deal with the seizures, which became worse, but we seem to have finally gotten it under control, naturally with the help of a DVM. He has been an almost perfect dog for us in spite of the medical problems. One problem is his furious barking when the doorbell rings, even on TV. Is our success common with this dog, or did we get lucky?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    There are great “used” dogs out there that make you feel like you struck gold!!!

    I think you are both lucky!

    [Reply]

  37. Cindy says:

    THE LABRADOODLE, SIMPLY THE BEST, as a labradoodle breeder i have selectively chosen my adult stock and not as puppy’s but as 10months to 1year old to ensure temperament and health, as a previous trainer and breeder of German Shepherds, temperament and health have always been in my mind from day one. i have found my labradoodles, with out fail, conform to the perfect family dog as well as companion, therapy or service. I must specify though that only the standard ones are a true labradoodle using the greatness of the standard poodle NOT the miniature or toy’s and i do like the use of the English Labrador vs hunting lined Labrador’s.
    carefully breed Labradoodles tend to adjust to your lifestyle and go from outdoor sports dog to indoor lap dog in a matter of moments, they love kids and other animals are loyal loving and enduring. They don’t make great watch dogs but will alert you to strangers. I don’t just breed them, as you can see i love them and the breed. I’m blessed to be a part of my own labradoodle’s lives. Cindy (lovealabradoodle.com)

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Some have CRAZY energy and are difficult for some to handle!

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    After reading this comment today. I knew I needed to share this story.

    About 6 years ago, we had gotten a 4 month old Labradoodle from a breeder in Michigan. We were inexperienced dog owners though with 2 boys, 8 and 2 years old at the time. This breed was supposed to be a great family dog and easy to train. We asked the breeder a lot of questions. About the dog’s temperament, if the dog was good with cats and children and saw pictures of the dog with their son and she said they had cats as well and the dog ignored them.

    The day we picked her up from the airport and brought her home…we quickly wondered “what have we done!” She ran around our entire living room at top speed jumping on all the furniture and knocking over our two year old. For the next 6 months, it didn’t get any better no matter how consistent a routine, training, exercise (which only seemed to make her more hyper inside) and constant correcting. I was always asking for advice from experienced owners and nothing seemed to work. She was just very “strong willed”. She swiped everything off the counter in the kitchen if you turned your back for a second (so we put up a gate into the kitchen) she started jumping over that (so we put up two gates, one on top of the other). She ate food right off my kids plates when they were eating – so she had to stay in her crate. She didn’t like the crate. If you made the slightest noise during the night, she would wake up barking at 3am and wouldn’t settle down. My kids couldn’t play with their toys around her – she would take them and run around the house with the kids crying and screaming to get their toy back. She always barked and ran after our cat who eventually ran away and never came back. I knew part of the problem was our work schedule and you just couldn’t contain all that energy during the day, so I had my neighbor come during the day to take her out and play too – but that didn’t help.

    Our lack of sleep and stress level eventually wore us out and my husband and I knew this wasn’t working out but I know we had given it our best effort and it wasn’t fair to the dog either. It was the worst day of our lives knowing we had to give her up though. We couldn’t find her a new home ourselves so we brought her to the humane society in our town because I knew they would – and they did.

    The biggest lesson we learned is that it is SO important is to meet the dog in person first. I’ve known many people who have had a dog flown in from a breeder in another state. I caution anyone who considers this. You can’t always trust what your being told or they just weren’t the right fit for you and how would you know? You can’t put a dog on a plane and send it back – it’s too traumatic in the first place.

    Almost 6 years later now, we have a better work schedule now and we finally rescued a 4 month old boxer mix that we met by chance one day at an adoption fair. Ginger is WONDERFUL! Everyone comments on how well-behaved, calm and sweet she is. She was easy to train, doesn’t mind her crate at all and great with the kids. We had another cat by this time too and Ginger is completely submissive to him. She knows he rules the house. (It’s adorable to watch). I’m so glad we finally found the right dog. She’s so good that she can even come with us when we visit family and friends.

    Our story had a happy ending 🙂

    [Reply]

  38. Marie says:

    Hi Minette,
    I have a sinking feeling in my stomach after reading this article on dogs that are good for children and the section on how puppies can change as they mature. I think I may be experiencing this; I’m hoping you can shed some light…

    We got this female Collie puppy at just under 4 months about 3 weeks ago from a breeder. I have concerns about that now, but that’s a different matter. This is our first puppy, but we have been using the dog training secret methods and they have been mostly successful. I have a couple of young elementary aged children and they are very respectful and gentle with the puppy. The puppy loves to chase them around the house and it has been OK as we have taught the puppy to “RUN” along side them.

    Now my concerns: The puppy started out very sweet and eager to please. We almost have her potty trained, she is crate trained, she is being exercised and trained daily (A lot of work!), she spends the rest of the time hanging around us. However, last week she started up with some new behaviors and I don’t know what to make of it. Am I seeing aggression traits? Here are some examples:
    >>She started biting her leash and wrestling to get out of it. (just because it is on)
    When I try to help her when she gets tangled up in it (and I’ve taught her “help” so she knows what I’m doing) she starts biting my arm or hand. It was just light pressure at first, but it’s getting harder and she’s getting more sassy; hopping about.
    >>When I take her to go potty (if she doesn’t want to go), especially if she is having fun playing with a toy, but keeps stopping to circle in the house, she will look straight at me and then start jumping on me and barking. I’ve tried turning my back and then even saying no jump with it. She just adds biting my jacket and she has even ripped a whole in it now. She knows “down” for lay down and I point to the ground with that. So, if I tell her, “no jump, lay down and point. She wines and barks and bites my arm. Another thing she will do is start tearing at all the moss in our yard, growling and whining and

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Sounds like you have a handful!!

    First stop letting her run with the children. This will likely back fire as she gets older and begins herding them and nipping at them. she is a herding dog and needs lots of appropriate exercise.

    Spray the leash with bitter apple or go to your vet for the prescription bandage variety so she doesn’t want to chew the leash and spray it on each time before you put it on.

    Let her play until she is exhausted and then let her hang out and wander till she goes potty. Puppies would much rather play outside and poop or potty inside!! So if she doesn’t go and you think she needs to put her in her crate and take her back out in 15 minutes until she goes.

    Jumping and tearing up your yard is boredom, she needs more exercise.

    And, it sounds like she doesn’t like to do anything she doesn’t want to do, so she needs more obedience training. Check out our Puppy Programming http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/PuppyProgramming

    Leave a leash on her in the house if you need to so if she jumps you can pull her off. Also try putting her outside or in her crate or in another room for a few minutes to break her mindset from the jumping. If jumping for attention=alone time she will eventually figure that out and stop!

    Although this sounds like pretty normal behavior if you don’t change it she will learn that her mouth controls you and so she is likely to get more aggressive.

    [Reply]

  39. Stacy says:

    I recommend a Saint Bernard for kids. We adopted one as a puppy from a rescue and she is the most tolerant, child friendly dog I have ever known! She has never shown any kind of aggressive behavior,ever. She is just a big pile of Love!

    [Reply]

  40. Debbie says:

    Hi!

    I have raised 5 German Shepherds in my 62 years, and maybe I was lucky 5 times, but they were the sweetest dogs, great with all the other animals and children and adults. I loved them so much, because they were sweet and affectionate, but still looked like police dogs, so I always felt so very safe. None of them were hyper, and all of them were so intelligent, they learned everything very quickly, and were great family dogs. I took them everywhere we went, introduced them to lots of different people and places as they grew up, and of course trained them with kindness and love. No harsh methods, lots of love and treats, and they were dream dogs that would protect our children from a grizzley bear if necessary! I have heard ALOT about the bad breeding and bad temperments out there, and of course the physical problems that bad breeding generates, but all of ours were great physically and mentally. My new one is now 7 months old and a dream puppy. 90 pounds already, and sweet and gentle. He happens to be straight West German blood, but all my others were mix of American and German or Dutch breeding. I never cared about the breeding, I only cared about the individual dog. I picked dogs that came from parents that were calm and sweet and smart, and we did ok. I think they are the best, but of course you might need the help of a gentle trainer. Don’t go to any classes given by punishment based trainers, and you’ll be ok. My puppy requires about an hour of good exercise a day, (if it rains we play fetch down the hallway, or I put him on the treadmill) ALOT of food as he grows, and TONS of love. Then he will turn out to be loyal and obedient (someday)! He already knows more than alot of adult dogs of other breeds. He housetrained VERY easily and LOVES learning new things. His little mind is always thinking and he already would die for us if necessary. I can’t say enough good things about them. Obviously!

    [Reply]

  41. susie says:

    what about English Cocker Spaniels?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I definitely like the English Cocker… much less high strung and nippy than some other cockers can be 😀

    [Reply]

  42. Christine Pielenz says:

    I own a wonderful Greyhound, and can confirm that Greys are good with children, but I’d like to add that kids age 5 and older are best. Greyhounds don’t like wild and crazy energy and shrieks too much; they love their peace and quiet. Also, it’s important to know that Greyhounds can have sleep startle (meaning when suddenly awoken they can snap at the person that woke them–it’s NOT aggression, but an automatic reaction, kind of like a “snap first, ask questions later”, just to be safe). This comes from the time they were at the race track in their own crate, where nobody EVER walked up to them and suddenly touched them while they were asleep. And this means that once adopted, the new owners, including kids, have to be accepting of the fact that when the dog is sleeping he shouldn’t be touched. This may eventually go away, as the dog gets trusting and comfortable. Other than that, they’re great.

    [Reply]

  43. Dawn Jordan says:

    Hi, I have A 19 Mth old Toy Poodle. He’s a great dog loves my grandkids but is ball obsessed and barks contantly mainly when he gets excited how can I controll this.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Put his ball up and only play on your own terms and never when he barks and teach him to be quiet.

    There are a couple of articles and barking and quiet, if you go to the right side of this page there is a search tab and you can do a search and read a fer articles.

    [Reply]

  44. Marcia says:

    I have 2 female Gordon Setters and agree that their wonderful temperaments are mostly genetic and enhanced by our loving home. A friend of ours is petrified of dogs as his daughter. Our gals literally won her over (with a LOT of supervision and teaching her on our part). Now we have to teach her to respect dogs and ask owners if she can pet them, etc. (all the basic stuff). As far as my hunting gals go, I use a ball and ‘chuck it’ and have a 2.5 acre fenced yard. They surely get all the running they need and ‘chillax’ as couch potatoes at the end of the day. It’s pretty amazing how much exercise you can provide your dog by throwing a ball! We mix it up with walks, rides in the car, and are involved in conformation, more for the experience and mental stimulation than the wins. Just got back from a trip to Orlando for the Eukanuba show, stayed at a home with an older, kind of ‘guard the house’ type dog. At first she growled at our gals being on her turf, then warmed to them. (They knew to keep their distance.) My friend called after we left to tell us that their dog is now looking for her new friends and whining they’re not there. Go figure!

    I do agree that children need as much ‘training’ (or more) than the dog, but sporting dogs can be great with kids. Yes, a FENCED YARD is a must!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I love Gordons 🙂

    [Reply]

    Marcia Reply:

    Minette,

    Thank you for “GETTING IT.” While not an expert nor a dog trainer (have owned ‘mutts’–one of which was my best dog ever–and pure-breeds), I grew up with family and neighbor dogs. I do feel that the job they were bred to do (whether obsolete or not) is genetically hard-wired. Dogs who do rescue work (St. Bernards, Newfoundlands, etc.) or who work FOR people (such as sled & hunting dogs) have a genetic predisposition for nurturing and are better w/ kids. There are the exceptions, for sure, and supervision and teaching children how to meet a dog (fist to sniff, gentle, non-sudden motion, then palm out to sniff, followed by GENTLE pet on head, etc.) are essential. My point is that size and, in general breed, are not as important as the job the dog was bred to do and the SUPERVISION/TEACHING of child/dog interaction. But you know that……

    [Reply]

  45. Melissa B says:

    Hi all,
    I would like to say I have had many breeds of dogs throughout the years. I also have 3 children ranging from 6 to 17 all boys 🙂 and the most amazing dog I have every been with, is our newest edition a Morkie.
    This is a mutt breed (yorkie and Maltese mix)
    She is amazing! She is 10 months old, a dream to potty train, very sweet, playful but not annoying! She is a people dog, loves my 19 year cat although the cat does not show her enthusiasm for affliction.
    I had my concerns at first because she is small and I don’t like yappy dogs. She is protective and alert all you can ask for! Morkie’s are considered a designer breed and I was afraid of her interaction with the boys, thinking she may be stuck up, but she is just a country girl with a lot of love and life!!
    Cons are the price tag but she was worth every cent!
    Daisy has changed all of lives!!

    [Reply]

  46. Helen Circosta says:

    I have had a lot of different dogs over the years but the dog I have now would have to be the best family friendly dog ever.
    She is an Italian Sheepdog – a Maremma.
    Tessa has absolutely no aggressive tendencies- she does not even bark in reply to other dogs when we are walking her.
    She is gentle with all other creatures, even a tiny baby bird in my garden.
    She loves the grandchildren and sits with them whenever they come over.
    We got her as a 6 month old puppy but she had no puppy tendencies – no digging, no jumping, no biting, no barking.
    While she is a big dog, she is very easy to manage.
    People still stop me in the street to ask what kind of dog she is and how lovely she is. They can see on her face and in her eyes what a beautiful gentle girl she is.

    [Reply]

  47. Andrea says:

    Hi Minette,

    we got a Lagotto Romagnolo at 15month old last year. I had not heard of that breed before and the main reason I got him was that a)no hair shedding and that he was already older. We went over and met him at the breeder. And it truly was like he chose us. He would not leave our site the whole time we were there and was very reluctant to let us go. WHen I came back a week later to pick him up it was like “what took you so long?” He has the most loving nature I have ever experienced in a dog. He does guard and bark, but not excessive. Very food orientated, it is easy to train him.And he is so affectionate. I had quite a range of dog breeds around me during my life from boxer over shepherd to dachshound and foxie, but this one is a class in its own in his love and devotion…..

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    They are great dogs! I bet a lot of people will be googling that ha ha

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I can’t see it but if I could I would upload some photos of him at the beach….He just loves the water. each time we go walking he takes a bath in the water bucket @ the dog off leash area. The other day was very hot and my daughter was helpless with laughter as he climbed into a kneehigh birdbath in order to get wet on his way home…Lagottos are not small as you know.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    No they are not 😉

    Visit us on FB and you can share your pic there thedogtrainingsecret.com

    My Dutch Shepherd climbs into the tub with me every time I take a bath ha ha 🙂 Gotta love dogs that love the water!

    Perhaps you need to do dock diving like i do with her!

  48. Ray Brubaker says:

    We have had Rat Terriors for more than 40 years. Our kids grew up with them from birth. My Son when he was brought home from the hospital, my wife told out Rat that this baby was her’s to watch over. And she did just that. We just lost our third one from old age and she along with the others will be missed dearly. Thank you for an enjoyable article.

    [Reply]

  49. Barbara Harris says:

    I enjoyed your article. I have a female German Shepherd. She has been raised with love but is hellbent to protect me. She was wonderful with my husband (He is now deceased) and is a faithful companion. However, I am the only one she will obey. My trainer said that it is definitely genetic. I understand that and am very careful to keep her from friends and family. She never took to others as a pup. When my family visits, she goes to a kennel (there, without me,she is fine). I know she would not be alive if I hadn’t bought her or she may have ended up being a junk yard dog.
    I have no problem with her. She is a quiet and obedient dog in my home and has an electric fence. My friends know to call before entering.

    It is not easy to have a dog like Schatzie but I feel very safe and comfortable with her in my home.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I have two of these kind of dogs and it isn’t easy! I prefer my social girl, but alas i can’t change their temperaments. So I do the same and crate when people are over.

    But I also know that NO ONE with any sense would ever break into my home! (or car)

    [Reply]

  50. whisperingsage says:

    Well I can tell you the breeds I grew up with and loved, as my mom was a dog collector, most of them were free;
    German shepherd, Coonhound, border terrier (they were hard to break from tearing the house up, so I figured that was why they were called Terriers), miniature poodle, she was the greatest. And my first. Also Mom had a penchant for chihuahuas, and toy poodles, She taught us to clip our miniature with the scissors, around the feet and toes and face, we didn’t have an electric clippers, but you know I don’t know any 5 yr olds that would have the patience and understanding to do that now. Kids today are not trained to behave anymore and can’t be trusted themselves. Except occasionally, you see some extra maturity for example in the motocross kids, amazing how tiny they are, and they have the understanding to do amazing things, so again, it goes back to training, of children too. Our shepherds were the best. And the poodles were very smart. They would retrieve and deliver (the newspaper for example, or the mail). Their history is as a retreiver so that is no big surprise.

    [Reply]

  51. holly says:

    I have a 10 month old bernese he is a little stubborn being a adolescent:-) but he is wondeful with my 3 and 6 year olds. he never bites at them even with all the extra squeezing hugs around his neck he loves the attention. he is very leary of adults and hides behind me when i take him for a walk and they want to pet him, (HE NEVER BITES) but any child walks up and he sits down and proudly waits to be pet.He was housebroke within a week and immediately another one of the kids:-)

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Dogs don’t always like hugs, I would be careful of that.

    If he is not neutered I would get him neutered.

    And, he is only 10 months and for a Berner that is still very young. But doesn’t mean that this behavior won’t escalate, be very very careful!

    Never force him to be petted and allow him to work things out, sometimes giving a stranger a treat to toss at his feet will make him more receptive toward people but be careful not to reward him for being fearful. Don’t coo to him or tell him “it’s okay” or he will think you like that behavior, instead ignore it.

    I love the Bernese, but I didn’t list them because they have such a high incidence of cancer that a 6 year life span is just not enough for me!

    [Reply]

  52. June says:

    I really enjoy your articles. I’m lucky to have chosen a rescue maltese cross nd she is an absolute delight.

    [Reply]

  53. Johanne Lacoste says:

    Very interesting! I apreciate your opinion about Soft coated Wheaten Terrier for family pet.

    [Reply]

  54. Bud Wilson says:

    Minette: I enjoy reading everything You write. I check My e-mail every day to see if I can learn anything from You.

    Thank You,
    Bud Wilson

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Thanks Bud!!! You just made my day!! I am so happy that you like what I write 🙂

    [Reply]

  55. Alison MacDonald says:

    I have three rescue dogs, all of whom are great with kids. The first is a Shih Tzu cross but about 25 lbs. so larger than that breed. I’ve had her for 5 years and while she barks when she’s nervous she is never aggressive. The second is a Papillon that I got about a year later. I asked the rescue organization if I could take him home for a week to make sure there were no issues and they were fine with that. While he’s not aggressive, he will nip at times, for example if his hair gets pulled while brushing. He has never bitten a child, but I’m not sure that he wouldn’t if one hurt him. The third is called a “Lhasa type” by the vet and he thinks that children, especially little ones, are the best thing in the world. When we’re at the park if he sees a stroller he runs over to say hi and at times will try to climb in. He has no aggressive tendencies at all and will walk away if another dog or child takes something of his. I have no idea what else might be in his mix – he could be full Lhasa – because he was found wandering the streets.

    [Reply]

  56. Judy Mitchell says:

    Hi, I have had english cockers, a rottweiler and now have the love of my life_ a miniture snauzer ( spelling is wrong I think ). She is 18 months old and the only minus about her is the barking. Very intelligent and energetic as well as stubborn. She will try to hang off doing what I have told her to do until she thinks she might be disaplined. Great size and hardy. Would like your opinion. Thanks, Judy.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I don’t think they would make great family dogs for everyone with the barking, and the stubbornness! But I like them!

    [Reply]

  57. wendy says:

    We have two labradle, and they are both great with our son. Thay are brother and sister and are great around otther people as well. We have had a few dogs and have found this breed to be very good nature.

    [Reply]

  58. Marie says:

    Labs sometimes (i think) are good with kids. Golden Retrievers are also good with kids.
    I wonder if Jack Russells are good with kids?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Jack Russells are at the top of the list for bites. That is not ALL Jacks but some.

    I use to pet sit for one who was marvelous with my step kids but very dog aggressive.

    If you like a breed it is all about finding the right individual (which is why I like older dogs if there is any question).

    [Reply]

  59. Bob says:

    Does anybody have a daschund? I have a daschund that is approximately 2 years old and simply hates a bath. She growls and gets angry when I give her a bath.

    [Reply]

    Debbie Reply:

    Dear Bob…i have 3 Doxies and adopted out 6 pups. Doxies have a mind of their own but do well with positive reinforecement. Try putting them in water half way up their legs. Take it slow and treat their bath like a reward. Tell them how pretty and handsome they are in a calm soft tone as you bath them. They love praise and reward them if they do a good job. Also be careful of getting water in their ears and eyes. Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

  60. Wendy says:

    Hi I found your comments about dog breeds who are good with children interesting,in my experience most puppies will nip adults as well as children,
    When the dogs mature the golden rule is never leave your dog whatever the breed alone with young children,there have been several cases here in the uk of terrific attacks on young children by family pets,
    I have an adorable Scottie who is 11months old and who is brilliant with my grandchildren ,other dogs and people,which is good being a terrier,have you had any feedback about Scotties

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I agree with you, puppies nip anyone 😉 but they do tend to bite children harder. We are BIG adults and kids look like another puppy.

    I love Scotties but some are known for their barking and they too can be stubborn or nippy terriers.

    When I was a kid my Grandma had one and I certainly loved it.

    [Reply]

  61. I own a blue female Australian Cattle. She is wonderful with kids; especially todlers and infants. She was born around March 9th 2012 so shes almost a year old now. To her, I am her mother. She will only listen to comands from me and small kids. She will not listen to other adults, and does not like other dogs around me or small kids; such as my baby brother. She loves people in general; even though she may not like some animals. She loves horses, goats, rabbits, and kids. She hates birds, cats, dogs, and will only go after cattle if I tell her to. She is somewhat energetic, but is totally lazy when she gets the chance. But when I am outside in the yard playing with her; she is a ball of energy. She has never bitten anyone, except she likes to chew on my legs or hands(she has done this ever since I got her). She will not leave my side unless I put her up, shove her outside, or tie her up somewhere. I have actually seen her follow my baby brother outside, just protecting him. She would not let any of our ‘watch dogs’ or cats near him. An Australian Cattle Dog is very loyal, smart, great with kids, and amazing if you only want one dog. They also love attention and love. She also returns the love; for instance, once I got bucked off a horse and had to go to the hospital. I couldn’t take her with me and my step-mom and dad said that she somehow got into the house(I bet my brother or one of my sister let her in)and went to my room. They said that she laid there the whole time(a few hours)and would not eat, drink or leave my room. My sister said that she tried to pick her up, but she just growled and bared her teeth at her. They left her alone and when I was coming up the driveway, they said that she was out of the house and already sitting at the gate waiting for me. She babied me the rest of that evening. She kept making sure I was ok. She truly is an amazing dog, and her breed is amazing and I recommend and Australian Cattle Dog for a family who only wants one dog. But remember, this breed will pick a favorite family member(or if you live alone)and most likely only listen to that one person.

    [Reply]

  62. Beth Hesch says:

    A breed that is very good with children that I did not see mention is Keeshonds. I’m on my 3rd keeshond after losing the other 2 & he can’t get enought of people & other animals. He sees everything & can’t understand why I won’t let him just run over & play. He is just now 8 months & ususlly learns everything quickly except for wanting to see everyone & jumping on them. Now he is learning the STAND command & has caught onto that pretty quickly. Thanks for your help.

    [Reply]

  63. Ginger Rybicki says:

    Thank you so so much for printing this very intelligently presented material. I will be forwarding and copying it for future distribution. I would like to share my story about aggression and puppies if you will all be willing to hear it(it’s rather long).

    New neighbors moved in behind me several months ago. With them was a large black dog I’m guessing Lab/Greyhound/Bloodhound mix). He was terribly underfed and undersocialized. In fact, I never saw anyone pay him a minute of attention or food. So, I started feeding/watering him on a regular basis. He was very fearful and never did come to the fence. After a while, he started to put on weight and was feeling better. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the owner decided to chain him up in the middle of yard. I no longer was able to get food to him(I would have jumped the fence, but I really thought he’d bite me if I got to close). So,I had to sit back and watch him get skinnier and skinnier again. After awhile,I couldn’t take it anymore and called animal control who took him away and gave them a hefty fine.

    Four days later FIVE (yes 5) new dogs showed up on the property. My heart sank. Among them was a very fear aggressive Sheppard, a very nice Pit Bull, a little Terrier of some kind and two 6-7 week old puppies. The owner had taken in two roomates.

    The condition of these new dogs was almost as bad as the other dog, especially the puppies. A few days later, I was able to catch one of the roomates in the yard. I talked him out of giving me the puppies and the little Terrier. A friend agreed to take the terrier and is now a wonderful addition to a new forever family. I took on the puppies. They were a mess. Almost all thier hair was gone, crawling with fleas, and ematicated, I immediately took them to the vets. Technicians bathed and bathed and bathed them to get all the fleas off. The worst case they had ever seen. Covered in ringworm and loaded with intestinal parasites, the vets didn’t hold much hope for recovery.

    Because of the ringworm, I had to quarentine them away from all the pets in my house (I have a Boykin Spaniel/Chow mix, an English Lab mix, and a cat). This proved to be challenging since I have a small one bed one bath house, but we made due putting the puppies in the bathroom). For 5 weeks they got mega doses of vitamins, antibiotics, and medicated baths several times a week, in addition to good groceries and many trips to the vet. I would brake out in a rash every time I touched them, so I had to cover up from head to toe when I was with them, but still we managed. They were spayed and got all their shots. Against all odds, they lived and were getting stronger every day. Behaviorally, they seemed to be normal happy puppies.

    Thinking they were ready to find forever homes, I started the process of getting them on board with a local “friends of the shelter” group that arrange transport of puppies from South Carolina to states up north that have a shortage of puppies (imagine that!). I was denied twice due to being “out of the system”, and due to their size (only looking for small dogs,which these pups where not). While trying to figure out what to do next, I stated noticing behavioral changes. Now out of quarentine and out in the yard, when people came they became fearful and hid. Okay, I thought, understandable, they need socializing. I began taking them for long walks (with my other dogs) in the public woods near our home. Many dog walkers and people on horse use these woods. At first, they were fearful and ran to hide off the trail into the woods when we came upon people, dogs or horses, but after awhile something changed. They found their barks. When this happened, they lunged and barked ferociously with every hackle on their backs standing up. I was shocked, and dumbfounded. Someone suggested splitting them up, so I did.

    It was at this time they were finally accepted to be transported up north. However, with this aggressive behavior, no shelter would be able to adopt them, so I decided to keep them knowing that was probably my last change to find them another home unless I could change their behavior. It was not an easy decision. I’m not a professional dog behavioralist by any stretch of the imagination,have never had an aggressive dog of any type, didn’t really have the room for two more large breed dogs, would really have to tighten the budget to keep all these dogs on flea & tick and heartworm prevention (a must in the south), and I knew I simply couldn’t afford professional trainers or behavioralists, I was willing to give it a go.

    I started researching on-line, learning all I could about fear aggression, and socializing fearful dogs.

    I left them outside once when I went out, to have my neighbor come over yelling and screaming that they aggressively and constantly barked at him for an hour while he was out in the yard, and he would call animal control if it didn’t stop. Shoot! How do I get them to stop barking? I tried using the – “it’s okay Blossom, it’s okay Lolli” for weeks to no avail, I tried positive association with treats when neighbors or dogs or cars or a leaf blew to no avail. Once again I went to the internet for help. The only way they can go outside now is on leash. Being they aren’t housebroke yet (having to use newspaper while in quarentine just added to this frustration), I spent half the day taking them outside. They did settle down (after 5 minutes or so) on leash, so I clung on to the hope they would eventually come around.

    Inside, my household was turned upside down. Not being able to play outside very often, these now 50 plus pound puppies where destroying my little house. I had to purchase large, expensive, extra strong doorway gates to seperate spaces so the adult dogs and cat would have access to the dog door, but they couldn’t get out.

    As a gift, my stepfather hired workers to come to my house to fix my shed and carport and do some trim work on my house. Blossom puppy (after being thoughly introduced and seemed relaxed around the workers), ran up and nipped the one guy. This was the 4th time she had nipped a person. I never take nipping lightly. If a dog will nip, he will bite. How long until they BITE someone? the workers spent the next three weeks trying to make friends with them – they continued to charge and pounce on the fence, bark ferociously, and snap at them.

    One side of the fence in my back yard is nothing but chicken wire and some posts. I don’t have the money to replace the fence. I would wake up in the middle of the night worrying that they would go through that fence and attack my neighbors little boy that likes to play along the fence line.I would be lying if I didn’t admit I was completely overwhelmed at this point. The idea of “putting down” puppies was not something I was willing to even contemplate at this point, but I felt like a prisoner in my home and yard who’s only task in life was to keep these puppies from excessively barking, and having access to hurting anyone. I couldn’t have company over anymore. My 10 year old nephew used to come stay overnight with me on the weekends, but the pups become increasing more aggressive with him and at the very least would bark no stop the entire night.

    To add insult to injury, Blossom puppy also starting showing signs of dominance aggression. Although one of my adult dogs tryed not to allow this – (my other dog is 13) he is a follower and it wasn’t easy for him, and she knew that. So, her and I were in this constant battle for alphaness. Physically, she would run circles around me when I would try to gather her up, which frustrated me to no end, but I had to let her run around in the yard sometimes. So who was alpha? Mmmm, good question. As she stated to lose some of her fear, I noticed she just didn’t like, or want anything to do with people or dogs (other than me and mine).

    Someone suggeste seperating them. So I did – in the woods atleast. It was while seperated I could observe each pup as individuals. Over time, I started to see positive improvement in Lolli – when and only when seperated from Blossom.

    I contacted no less than 12 rescue groups and organizations for help. Not one was willing to take them on – especially Blossom. After much soul searching,and encouragement from friends and family, I made the gut wrenching decision to humanly euthanize my poor sweet Blossom. I’m 51 years old, and this was by far the hardest thing I’ve done.

    Now for some positive and good news! In just days after having Blossom girl put down, Lolli became a different dog (actually she is becoming herself). As I had hoped, she (a follower) started to look to my adult dogs as to how to behave. In less than two weeks, I am happy to report she is completely housebroke, is greeting people and dogs(she knows)in the woods wagging her tail, giving kisses, and even trying to play some. Although still fearful and barky at strangers and my neighbor, it’s not with near the same intensity. I was so confident in her transformation that I invited my parents and sister over for dinner this weekend. She did beautifully! Although somewhat fearful and tentative, her hackles never rose, she gave kisses, and only barked once. I couldn’t be more thrilled. Our household is again peaceful and she has even made friends with the cat (although Elsa kitty is not buying it quite yet, she is starting to come around more). She no longer barks at the neighbor dog – she actually sits and observes now. I’m cautiously optimistic she continue to become a well adjusted and social dog.

    Although this entire experience has been bitter/sweet (and long – thank you for your tolerance) I wanted to share it. Blossom and Lolli’s parents are the Sheppard and Lab/Greyhound mix I mentioned earlier. Both were fearful and aggressive. Where they born that way (NATURE), or where they victims of an abusive and neglectful owner NURTURE)? Don’t know. I used to think that aggressive dogs where only “created” by their owners. No longer. Although my puppies had a tragic beginning, Lolli has proven that she was only following Blossom’s dominance and instability, and given a chance to be in a nurturing environment was able to allow the real stable Lolli to come through. Was Blossom’s fear and domanice aggression due to those tragic first weeks of her life? Maybe, but I don’t think so. The fact is that her negative behaviors started AFTER she was in a stable loving environment. This says to me that it was in her NATURE to be aggressive,dominant,and unsociable.

    I agree with Minette that it would be best to get an adult dog instead of a puppy if you have children. Ya never know.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Sad story but thank you for sharing. So many people want to blame the owner… it’s easier.

    But puppies can be aggressive and although they were neglected it doesn’t sound like the other people were out beating them at 2-3 weeks of age.

    Clearly you gave them what they needed and certainly tried. Blossom knew what love felt like and had a good life. I am proud of you.

    [Reply]

  64. charles hildebrand says:

    we have three choclate labs. all very good dogs all from the same breeder. one is three and a half years the other two are nine months old. the smaller of the two puppies is very good walks well knows her commands. the other puppy is lovable but has some insecurity problems/separation anxiety problems. when I walk her she pulls excessively, and when inside she will pee in areas of the house even after we have taken them out. have tried putting her in her crate for periods of time but she still does it. do you have any ideas?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Concentrate on her, she needs more of your time.

    Start lots of obedience at home, it builds confidence and then consider a class just the 2 of you; bet she’ll love it

    [Reply]

  65. zoe says:

    we have a pitbu and she is a lovey ltte dog wel i say little but not anymore and shes not even a year yet!!! but atey she has started to Bark Alot and runnnig up 2 people and barking kinda like be Fearful From me.Pease any suggestions would be very well appreciated.thanks.zoe

    [Reply]

  66. erin doyle says:

    Hi,
    If no-one has considered a Great Dane, I would do so. They are fabulous with young children, adults, strangers and they are totally friendly, adorable (big babies) and just the most gorgeous animals I have come across. They are needy as far as company is concerned. I work from home and my darling dog is delighted I do! As am I!!!!!!!

    cheerio,
    Erin

    [Reply]

  67. CappyKan says:

    When my sibling and I were around five years old, our parents got us two miniature Schnauzers. Their intial reasoning was that the dogs were miniature versions of Schnauzer which is a German war dog, so they’re structed sturdily, good for rambunctious children. However, they were also mixed with other terriers so the genetic issues of merely being runts didn’t arise, at least with less effect.
    They were exceptional. We were expected to do all the training and caring, which a person would think as a death-trap for both the puppies and children, but it was surprisingly easy. Both of our dogs were exceptionally obedient immediately, hanging off our every word and house-training only took a couple weeks. My dog didn’t require being taught to come or follow, as she was glued to my leg and seemed to understand what to do purely on the tone of my voice. The other puppy had similar actions, but she was more of a family dog and seemed to be occupied with the entire family and not focused on just her.
    They were both energetic and always happy to run around a bit, but the moment we stopped playing they’d go back into a calm, perhaps even lethargic state only to bounce back to an apparent sugar-high when we took off again. Neither of them had any behaviour issues like aggression or possessiveness and were very social with other dogs and, to an extent, strangers.
    The same was for the other few we adopted, but all of them came from seperate families and breeders.

    [Reply]

  68. sarah says:

    I completely disagree that small dogs, “are often less tolerable of children and their antics and childlike behaviors”. I have grown up with Yorkies and never had a single problem. They are amazing dogs, and extremely smart. I have never had a single problem with any of my dogs around small children.

    [Reply]

    GRACE Fritz Reply:

    I got a rescue dog, a 6 year old chihuahua from the humane society in October. She hasn’t been around children yet but I am concerned by all your remarks. She is so loving and loves to sit on my lap and I adore her. she is getting socialized to adults and want them to take her up, except for my one daughter whom she nipped at once. My daughter doesn’t like small dogs. My sister had just dids and we were all in shock and upset and I think that had something to do with it. Anyway, she reacted very strongly when my daughter came in the other day, barking and barking. She doesn’t act this way with my other children. Any suggestions? I am 85, in good health and walk her every day. She is a sweetie pie , a great companion and I would like them to at least get along. I think she senses that my daughter doesn’t like her

    [Reply]

  69. patricia says:

    I sit for my nephew’s son who is 18 mos. old. They acquired a pit bull/boxer mix from the shelter. She is 1 yr old and very energetic. I also just started your program so I could teach her some manners. She is fond of me because I spend time with her and try to maintain the alpha presence. I have a lot of work ahead of me since she jumps, chews, and digs holes all over the back yard. She also jumps the fence. I will try to use your teaching methods as much as possible in the hopes of stopping this unwanted behavior. Please let me know if you have a vidio on digging and jumping the fence.

    [Reply]

  70. the teacup says:

    what a bout yorkie teacup puppies. They are very small and adorable too. What do you think about teacup puppies and children ?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I think they are too small and fragile for most children.

    [Reply]

  71. Zoe says:

    Hi,
    Just read your article and found it very helpful thank you.
    I have two daughters aged 8 and 6.
    Would an american bulldog be a good choice for a pet?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    American Bulldogs can be very hard headed, harder to train and territorial.

    If you and your family can handle that, I suggest you find a good breeder and make sure mom and dad are good with people and kids.

    Steer away from litters where mom and dad don’t like people or are skittish

    [Reply]

  72. Terri says:

    I have had many breeds in my lifetime. My childhood pet was a german shepherd.. blindly loyal, great all around family pet, followed us kids on our bikes all day and guarded our bikes at the mall, waiting for us to come out. He was fine until passing school children came by our house and banged on our trash cans or little bitty dogs nipped in his face. I’ll never forget that dog! I’ve had many breeds in my adult years, but the poodle is my favorite. Highly intelligent, eager to please, easy to train, polite, plus they don’t stink or shed makes them the greatest ever. My current 2 are a 11 year old standard female, Zoe and my 1 year old miniature female, Pippa. We have 7 kids ranging from 30 to 13 and now a 22 month old granddaughter living with us. They are great with her and watch her while she plays, coming up for pets. I also have a 6 year old female german shepherd who adores everyone and follows us on our walks, protecting us from the neighborhood dogs. All she does is wait until they threaten and bound up to them. They always back down and she comes back to herd behind us, but never nips or chases, just crosses back and forth. All of our dogs were well socialized to humans and other dogs and were obedience taught. Zoe even did agility in her young days. We recently lost our 16 year old yorkie. He was fonder of men than women, great with guests, but understandably slightly afraid of small children, although he never nipped, just stayed cautious and out of their way. I can’t imagine life without a dog! They bring such joy……

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  73. Amy says:

    Wonderful piece, thank you! I’d come to some of these conclusions through bad experiences and my family is on the verge of adopting a 2 year old Boston Terrier. The rescue says he loves kids, plays with them and snuggles with them,…but then they also say the dog is dog and cat aggressive “especially off leash) and gets scared easily. Do these things sound incongruent with a dog that’s great with kids? Our boys are 6 & 4. Thank you!

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  74. Jennifer says:

    I have an 8 year old daughter. She is VERY well behaved and has always been very gentle with all animals. My mom has cats and from the time my daughter was a baby she was taught to respect animals and was never allowed to pull tails, grab, or otherwise bother an animal. So we finally decided to get a pet of our own. My husband brought home a lovely 9 week old puppy about a month ago. She is generally sweet, rarely barks at anything, seems very smart. She is a mix that came from a breeder. Breeder usually breeds mini poodles, but the neighbors Chihuahua got under the fence at an inopportune time. So she is a mini poodle/chi mix. We really feel like we got the best of both breeds. Except for one problem. She is a puppy (that is not the problem) and has a ton of energy like any other puppy. She wants to play. The problem is that “playing” for her involves a lot of biting. I hesitate to even call it biting. Maybe nipping? It usually starts out light and tolerable, but as she gets more excited it gets out of hand. She will go for my hands and arms….but she has jumped and nipped at my daughters face. It never seems mean spirited or aggressive. Like I said…I hesitate to even call it biting. Never drawn blood or even come close. We love this dog. We have had her fixed. We are working on crate training. When she does get over excited and I am no longer able to calm her simply by speaking calmly or holding and petting I confine her to her crate or to the kitchen with a baby gate for a while until she is calm. I do not see the point of trying to handle a dog who is in that state of excitement…I do not feel she can understand or comprehend what is happening when she is in that state. Just like kids sometimes. lol The big question is….is this something puppies grow out of? Is there something we need to be doing to put a stop to it? That and she likes my daughters shoes….but only her shoes. She has destroyed a few pairs already. But THAT is more of an issue of training my daughter to put her shoes away. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Yes, on putting your daughter’s shoes away!

    This puppy needs more exercise than she is getting!! She needs a good run and some obedience training every day to entertain her mind and her body.

    Without training and exercise puppies bite and jump and destroy things. Biting can be a way of interacting with us; and although it is not appropriate it is a way for them to get our attention.

    So first is exercise!!! Not just a stroll or a walk but real running exercise http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/exercise-dragon-oops-puppy/

    then read this one http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/taste-horrible-aversive-dogpuppy-training-mouthing/

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  75. Sara says:

    The Havanese is the BEST dog ever!

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    Toni Kae Reply:

    I agree. I have a 3 year old granddaughter and 8 year old grandson and they love watching tv with Gizmo.

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  76. Stacy says:

    We have a Saint Bernard and she is the sweetest, gentlest dog ever! We adopted her from a rescue as a puppy and other than her getting overly excited with certain visitors and excessive shedding she is perfect. She doesn’t have an aggressive bone in her body. She loves kids, adults and gets along with all dogs. We also have a Pomeranian/eskimo mix (pomimo). She is also very good with anyone.

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  77. Michelle says:

    I have a 4 yr 7 mo old female Pekingese who viciously attacks one of my other pekes (male 5 1/2 yrs). She was only going after him. It’s been since she was approx 6 mos. she was on Prozac for 4 years and it worked great, but our (now former) vet gave her the wrong med for 2 mos. she was back attacking our male as she was withdrawing from the Prozac. We have since placed her back on the Prozac but I know once you stop a psychotropic med cold turkey like that it never works right again. She is better now, but the attacks still occur. At this point she knocked out all 6 of her bottom front teeth (when she was a baby) and 4 or his. We have an appointment with a behavioralist this week, but any input you have would be greatly appreciated. They are well socialized and she only really has issue with the one male. The other 2 fight back and this male just drops submissive and that seems to enrage her! She is a perfect angel other then that! Someone suggested rage syndrome but I don’t think it’s that. Seems now that it’s mostly when she is overstimulated but she never used to do it when we weren’t home but now she does. Also when out walking. I’m rambling… Thank you so much in advance for any guidance you may be able to offer.

    Michelle

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would leave it to the veterinary behaviorist since I can’t see the behaviors and the dogs interact and he/she may want to switch, change, or add meds

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  78. Michelle says:

    I am hoping she will display her evil side when the behavioralist comes! Lol. She’s usually excellent around other people! That’s why I have been stocking up on video of attacks and behavior leading up too.

    Thank you for your input!

    Michelle

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  79. Michelle says:

    I sent video to the behavioralist and she said its referred aggression. When he licks her he is challenging her to be nice! She recommended melatonin who’s has totally done the trick! Things have returned to normal in our household!!!! Thank goodness!

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  80. Elaine says:

    Hi Minette,

    What about Bullmastiffs and children? We recently adopted an 8 week old male and do far he’s been lovely. Very chilled and relaxed. Plays with children ok, bit nippy initially but now only a little with my youngest ( 3years old). Bit worried if you saying he could go fom gentle relaxed puppy to potential lunatic big dog! Mum and dad dogs were gorgeous and relaxed when we met them.
    Tx for your opinions…

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Due to their size and health conditions, I wouldn’t list them as “ideal” for most people, however with training and proper socialization you will probably end up with a great dog.

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  81. Ruth Smith says:

    I have a 2 year old English spring spaniel. she is a very loving dog. I need to know what to do with her jumping on people, she has been trained, and I have had her since she was 12 weeks old. the trainer helped a lot, but when we go walking she stills pulls, and she barks at people when we pass them. I don’t believe in shock collars. when people come to my house, she goes crazy for attention, and will not mind me at all. I end up putting her in her crate. she is crate trained, and sleeps in it too. any help please

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Read this; it explains what to and not to do http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/correcting-dog-jumping-people-create-aggressive-dog/

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  82. Morris Fisher says:

    I have a 5 year old beagle and got him from a family. He is friendly to all people. He has a friendly bad habit of jumping up on people and giving them a kiss. Especially women he loves them (smart dog). He does all kinds of tricks and enjoys playing. We live in a five story condo o there is a lot of elevator riding up and down. We usually have a stroll twice a day and he loves to sniff everything. I trained him not to pee on the couch leg and he waits to go outside. He is a great companion and is my PTSD pal and we get along fine and he sleeps at my feet every night and keeps them warm (he eats table food and a no fat diet low diet of fish meal pellats that I use as treats. He also likes blue berries.he also takes two Spirugreen supplements twice a day and they include Astaxanthin along with other requirements. I obtain the supplements from DR. Mercola and receive his healthy pets newsletter. I walk him on a leach and he is friendly with all dogs and cats and likes to chase squirrels and rabbits and is not aggressive. He loves car rides and has his own seat belt. He watches me close and appears to understand that I have health problems. He is a great companion for a senior war veteran and a smart dog companion who understands and we love each other. He loves children but if they pinch or squeeze him too much he will nip them which is understandable. and he watches me close and know when Its time for my meds.Any advice or suggestions would be welcome. Thank you.

    Morris & Dexter

    I’m a diabetic on insulin).

    [Reply]

  83. Carol Weekly says:

    Thank you for this great article.

    [Reply]

  84. Prem says:

    Hi,

    I have kid one year old I need to buy a dog which dog breed i should buy.

    I need a guard dog too so please don’t just a small dog breed .

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You don’t need a “guard dog” with a child. You just need a dog. The presence of a dog keeps people away.

    Thinking you need a dog to guard or bite is setting you up for a scary situation

    [Reply]

  85. Emma says:

    We have a nine month old rescued BoxerxBeagle, who is great with the kids next door! No matter how worked up she gets, she’ll never jump at them or bite them (when it’s just her with me or Mum or Dad, on the other hand…). She’s very active but, at night, can be the world’s biggest sook, whinging for attention and trying to sneak into the family room.

    The dog that we had previous, a LabxRetriever, was anti-social due to us being told not to socialise him until after all of his injections (big mistake!) but, he loved us and was so tolerant of my sister and I as kids. 🙂

    [Reply]

  86. Emma says:

    My Nanna had a Dachshund that loved her, but would growl at everybody else and bite you if you got too close to it. Meanwhile, my old riding teacher had a Jack Russell that was good with everything – kids, other dogs, horses, you name it! I think that it depends on the particular dog, really…

    [Reply]

  87. tiffany baker says:

    I really need your help. I am getting so many mixed articles of the proper dog for our home. We have older teens, but only part time cause we share with their other parents. But the one we really worry about is our full time 3 year old. He loves chill dogs and affectionate ones but when they bark a lot (meaning really loud and deep), get jumpy, or nippy he is very afraid. We have someone home all day to be with them and all night, so wont be left on its own unless to got out or run errands. We rarely vacation, maybe only once a year and not far. Please what do you suggest? We also need a healthy breed so we are going to be constantly running to vet for health issues, not unforeseen ones but ones that are almost always common with that breed and are unavoidable. Please help.
    Research has said that a bull terrier would be great, but when I read the comments on a Bull terrier rescue site they all say many were returned because the proved to be too much for a small kids in particular.

    I was told a Beagle is great. But some one else said beware if they don’t get enough exercise, they will knock him over and tare up the house.

    I was also told and french or English bull dog but they also have a lot of heath issue that can start almost immediately.

    I was told not to get an older dog because they are so difficult to break out of bad habits already learned or itemization trauma from a prior home or shelter.

    I am doing research but I am very very confused.
    Please help.

    I am doind research

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Beagles can be nippers. French or english bulldogs have horrible health problems (I hope you are a Dr.) and are very stubborn.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t get a dog with a 3 year old, you are compounding your work load by 1000 and that gives the baby time to grow up and become less scared and also to learn some manners before you get a dog.

    If you are hell bent, then I would find a rescue. Many rescue dogs come from homes with young children and not all of them have issues. People move and people don’t apply any commitment. I used to get ALL of my service dogs from shelters and if I can find good adult dogs that can go in public where they are stepped on and yanked then I know there are dogs with great temperaments out there.

    But I would go rescue vs shelter because most rescue dogs live in a home with people and those people will know the good and bad about the dog

    [Reply]

  88. Stephanie Roderick says:

    I have a 3 mo old mini schnauzer. She has been with us for 3 weeks. She is a very social puppy and seems very quick to learn most things. She can sit,down,stay(30 sec) , is mostly potty trained (unless she gets excited playing). She is very good with the children in the family(so far just the 10+yr odds). I am having a problem with her around my 17 yr old cat. She wants to play and he does not. So he hisses and swats at her(he is declawed front paws) , but she still thinks he’s playing, she will bark at him and paw him back. She also runs like crazy trying to get him to chase her. She does the same thing around my one daughter’s yorkie and my others chiweenie. They are all very active and love the chase game. Any suggestions of how to help her understand that the cat doesn’t want to play?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Put the puppy on a leash and teach it manners.

    And, give the cat a room or a place that the puppy can never go.

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  89. Amber says:

    I have had a german shepherd, shetland sheepdog, and pitbull and I would spend ALOT of time playing with my aunt’s rottweiler as a kid. Top 2 most gentle dogs with kids would absolutely be the rotty and pitbull. They are so gentle and adore kids. As kids me and my sister would spend hours playing in the backyard with my aunts rottweiler and she was the sweetest thing, never so much as nipped, just full of love. Unfortunately in the early 90’s rottweilers were being villainized by the media as pitbulls are today. One day things changed and she said we couldn’t play because she watched a news story about an aggressive rottweiler. It’s funny because you’ve never seen a mauling but a golden retriever on the news when It absolutely does happen. The problem is that by villianizing a breed you will draw bad people to that breed which further perpetuate the myth as a bad owner results in a misbehaved and oftentimes aggressive dog. The owner of a vicious dog is MANY MANY times more likely to have a criminal record. If you want vicious dog attacks to end, stop allowing violent criminals to have dogs in the first place. I treat my pitbull with love and affection and he rewards my family with being the best dog we’ve ever had. He is an absolute angel and so loving and gentle with my daughter. If I even play battle with my daughter (she loves it) he’ll start howling at me and grab things he knows I dont want him to have and come by me with them to distract me away from her. I highly recommend pitbulls as family pets. With any dog make sure the dog has no aggressive tendancies at all (with food, toys, playing, etc) before adopting and introducing to children. Also teach your children to respect the dog in the first place. In a wolf pack all members of the pack care for the pups. If the dog believes him or herself as part of your family’s pack he will treat your kids with the love of a parent.

    [Reply]

  90. My mom said that I can’t get another dog until I am 13 years old. How do I show her I can get it sooner?

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  91. Erin says:

    Hi Minette,

    I read your above article and found it to be informative, but maybe too late for us. My family and I (consisting of me, my husband and four kids 6yr to 1yr, and two cats) adopted a golden mix from a local rescue about two months ago. We did two test weekends with her and she was very mellow and gentle around the kids. She was interested in the cats but always would just sniff and then walk away. I had been researching dog breeds for about a year and thought that with the golden retriever in her, we were matched well. We went ahead with the adoption. She has been good; however, she has been increasingly possessive over me to the point that she attacked our cat when the cat was trying to get to my lap. She growled, barked, bared teeth, and pinned the cat down. The cat was able to get away unhurt. Now, I am not only worried about the cats, but also that she may do this when one of the kids runs to me. She snapped (did not bite) at the 1 yr old when she got to close the first week we had her, but since then we have kept them completely apart unless my husband or I are holding the baby. I have been researching some more and I can only tell by looks that she may be a golden/chow mix. We have called in an in-home trainer, but if you have any other advice on if this is something we should be concerned about or if the trainer can help her possessiveness that would be great! Thanks!

    [Reply]

  92. Brianna says:

    So your saying that nobody should get a dog or puppy for their child?I have a almost 3 yr old and a 1 1/2 yr old and I have had a dog before they were born but she’s very old now and don’t play with them much we live in the country and I was raised with animals since I was little…are u saying that nobody should get a puppy or dog for a kid younger then 5?? I’m just curious because I don’t think getting a dog for them would be bad my kids love animals and we always teach them manners and my son who’s almost 3 is very smart for his age I think if you have children around my kids age that they can have a puppy or dog if u supervise and teach them the right way to treat a dog…I do want to get my kids a puppy or dog but I just haven’t found the right breed for them because we don’t want a huge dog we want one that’s not to small or big for them and my son is very energetic and absolutely loves animals and to play with them what would u suggest? Even though you don’t agree with people getting a dog for children at this age

    [Reply]

  93. Carrie Allen says:

    I agree about collies. We had a pure bred collie and her half breed daughter for years when my kids were babies. Til about middle school. They were outside dogs, but they eere great with the kids. Both oof them at about 3 attempted to ride her. She was big about 100 lbs. She didn’t complain but she wouldnt move. Very sweet. Collies have the sweetest eyes. I had a Doberman when my oldest was born he was really great. I was worried about him because he was so intent on protecting Drake. When he was about 9 mo I would put Drake in the kiddie pool and Max would circle where ever Drake was. What concerned me was my ex would bring his friend with six kids around. They would throw a ball around and Max would madly bounce around to intercept it. I was scared he would accidentally bite their hands. Now my boys are grown but in college live at home. We have two black lab mixes. They are great but I wouldn’t recommend one to a smal child just because they are very enerjetic and bumbly for a couple years. Mine wouldnt bite a biscuit. But my nine month old dives on the bed and tackles me like a linebacker. My suggestion is a toy poodle. Had a male 13 yrs and he was sso easy to train, to care for and they will stay as close as possible to their owners. No one didn’t love Jackson. He regularly would go to the elementary school to pick up my son or help in the class. Mosy I held him and let them pet him. He would sit just as still as if he were a toy. He could swim, won over any man that thought poodles weren’t cool. He was my baby. I still miss him though he has been gone 4 yrs. Three years ago I got two female toy poodles. And they are great too..

    [Reply]

  94. Heather says:

    What about the barking tendency of the Norwegian elkhounds? Is that inevitable or trainable? I don’t want a barking dog but we do live in a cold winter climate. Also we have 4 boys ages 6,8,10,12. Is that too young for a dog? Or what type of dog would you reccomends for an active family of boys? We dog sat (2 weeks)for a labpit mix mutt not sure what else it had and it was an amazing dog especially considering it was still not an adult. It played great with the kids never ran off and stayed and would do anything we said. Even sit and wait wherever we asked. I grew up with a cocker spaniel that was impossible to train the obedience school sent us away! So I’m terrified of getting a dog that is crazy like that.

    [Reply]

  95. Hi i want to get an mini american eskimo some people say they are great with kids and other animals some people say that they are not . I just dont know what to belive. Can you help ? Also when people say they are good with something is that only when they grow up around it ? Like for say : i have small children around but only for short periods of time (2-4hrs) maybe one week then another week i dont .then the next week maybe a couple days then next week nothing . How do i judge ? I dont want to get a dog and have to put them away while kids are here .but also dont want kids to be scared if the dog is out and about in his home. What to do? Any help ?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I do not think american eskimos are typically good with children.

    [Reply]

  96. owner of 3 Collies says:

    This is a great article and I have to agree. I own 3 Rough Collies (collies). They are the sweetest, most gentle, loving dogs ever! They still have a herding instinct, but don’t require as much exercise as you think. 3 bathroom breaks a day and 1 walk a day…and that’s all! If you have enough time, 2 walks a day is ideal! They can bark a lot, but that is easily fixed with training. They will entertain you and be a couch potato with you! A couple times a day, they get a burst of energy and race around the house, but that is normal! 1 brush a week and 1 bath every couple months…and the occasional paw trim and that’s all! I highly recommend the breed! You can get from breeders or your nearest Rough Collie Rescue!
    They also tend to talk with you and tell stories. They make a Chewbacca sound and it is so cute! (They are not growling, they are talking.)

    They help your kids grow! Our friend who has recently had a baby is staying with us and our Collies have taught her to walk and play! They are able to handle the average baby, but as with all breeds, supervision is required. Not so much for the baby’s safety, but for the dogs.

    A Rough Collie is REQUIRED to help your baby!

    [Reply]

  97. Stella says:

    I love PitBulls! My friend had one, but it got hit by a car. The dog’s name was Bailey. She was a really nice dog too. Me and my friend were talking about how scared people are of pit bulls and really, it’s the person who owned (or has owned) the pit bull that makes them mean. Pit Bulls are great pets. I absolutely adore them!

    [Reply]

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