If you have been looking for a rescue dog for a while, but have kids, you may find it discouraging. Many rescues will not adopt to families with kids, or with kids under a certain age. This is typically due to something that has happened and falls into the “lesson learned” category. This video is a bit of an eyeopener. (We know it’s hard to watch, but it includes important messaging.)
In rescue, volunteers feel this frustration from parents. We get yelled at. We hear “No, not my kids—my kids are good around dogs.” Or we get the ultimatum “Fine, I’ll go to a breeder.” If your family really wants a dog, we want you to make it happen. And whether it be a dog that is young or old, purebred or rescue, your child’s safety is paramount.
To be clear, DIBS does adopt to families with kids—but it depends on the dog, and it depends on the kids. We ask anyone with kids who are looking for a dog to read the following articles and play devil’s advocate with themselves. Ask: Would my kid do this? What would I do if my child did that? Be thorough and diligent in your self-talk. The end result could be any or all of the following:
- Better child safely
- Alternate sources for your dog search
- New family rules
- Any other way to learn and level up your dog-savvy quotient
We looked for ways to share our knowledge, but we really found these articles great for the whole family:
- Dr Sophia Yin – How Kids Should and Should Not Interact
- Wide Open Pets
- Teaching Kids How to Interact with Dogs
- Your Dog Advisor: 11 Tips for a Harmonious Relationship
In addition to ensuring that your own kids are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need for positive interactions with the family dog, you might also need to educate other people’s kids. Where there are little people, there will inevitably be more little people coming over for play dates, parties, etc. When you adopt a dog it becomes your responsibility to ensure that absolutely everyone who interacts with your new family member does so in a way that is respectful and safe at all times.
Remember: A new dog is a respected member of the family—not a toy. A bad dog interaction has serious ramifications and, in the end, could hurt your child and have worse consequences for your dog.
Thanks for reading and best of luck on your search!
If you have been approved for a dog, here are some musts!
Typically the dogs are doing their typical dog things, but for the kids, this is something new in their home. Reminder to let the dogs be dogs, and for kids to treat them with respect in line with how they should treat a human, vs a toy.
- Conversations with the kids on manners. Read this.
- Watch this video.
- Set up a dog area that is out of the way, and ensure kids know it is off limits (whether the dog is there or not)
- Review safety and security with open doors, gates, etc.
- Re-review the above content with the kids. There will be lots of reminders on manners.
- Watch for the dog’s body language
- Ensure kids don’t approach the new dog. Let the dog approach the kids
- Give the dog space to get settled (they will be nervous, scared, overwhelmed)
- Lay on the dog’s bed, or enter their crate
- Stick hands in the dog dish
- Climb, sit on, lay on the dog
- Take dog’s toys or treats from them