For many people, it makes the family complete – the family dog. He should be a loyal companion, get along with the children, and, best of all, be able to step back when things get stressful. Being a family dog is a real job. In this article, we will examine which dogs are well suited for this and which are less so.
Requirements for a Family Dog
There are several lists of recommendations for family dogs circulating on the internet. It is quite difficult to generally recommend or not recommend a breed. The choice of the family dog should rather include a few characteristics of the future dog. The breed of the dog (and its associated dispositions) can also be included in this. However, it is just as important where and how the dog grew up, what the dog’s requirements are, and what you actually imagine a family dog to be!
Requirements for the character of the dog
Of course, the character of a dog largely determines its behavior towards you and the rest of the family, but also towards the environment. Here you can of course think about what is important to you and what is of secondary importance. For relaxed family life, however, we would find the following traits important:
Openness and curiosity
The openness trait broadly describes how open your dog is to new experiences. How curious is he, does he like to experience something new or does he like what he knows and is he rather anxious about new things? Both can be comfortable and it depends on your family what you need. For example, rather reserved dogs do not want to approach every stranger to say hello. That too can be pleasant. But for a family in which something unplanned often happens, many visitors who also want to do something, there should be a bit of openness and curiosity or an urge to explore in the dog.
Ingenuity and creativity
An imaginative dog with creative energy is great for someone who enjoys working with their dog. For example, a dog with ideas and trying different behaviors is great for clicker training. However, creative dogs (with criminal energy) also teach themselves a lot of nonsense. For example, some learn to open the food bin, others think it would be cool if they could open the front door. For example, my dog (Benji, an Australian Shepherd) trained himself to open doors through perseverance and countless attempts – and once enabled a whole pack of office dogs to escape from the office. For a family, therefore, a dog with less resourcefulness is more beneficial.
The trainability factor includes, for example, the dog’s independence and willingness to cooperate. There should be a balance between these two. On the one hand, a dog that can keep itself busy on its own is practical when you can’t take care of it. On the other hand, it is very practical if the dog wants to work with you as a human. Teaching a very independent dog is very tedious and requires work. However, dogs that naturally like to work with people and want to please them can be trained quite well. It is of course important that the dog does not become dependent on a person and develop a separation-related disorder.
The question of impulse control is also an important one. Dogs that are not impulsive are easier to lead. Impulsive dogs sometimes (even if they would like to) just can’t hear. The impulse to do something specific is simply too great at the moment.
Sociability and sensitivity
Many families think it’s great when their dog gets along with everyone (dog or human). But not every dog is naturally sociable and likes to socialize with others. This also has a bit to do with openness. Some dogs, like some people, prefer to be on their own after all. Others, on the other hand, enjoy meeting their canine friends. For families, a more sociable dog is often ideal. In addition, the dog should be able to cope if someone accidentally bumps into him or if he gets his food half an hour later than usual. In a family, you can’t always plan everything exactly – dogs with a very strong desire for routine are not ideal here. And even dogs that take everything personally very quickly will have a hard time in a household with children or careless adults.