Things to consider before you get a dog

Posted April 14, 2011, at 7:08 p.m.
Last modified April 15, 2011, at 1:12 p.m.
  1. Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist or responsible breeder) to learn about suitable breeds of dogs for your household.
  2. Dogs with histories of aggression are inappropriate in households with children.
  3. Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog and, if so, delay acquiring a dog.
  4. Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into the home of an infant or toddler. Spay-neuter virtually all dogs (this frequently reduces aggressive tendencies).
  5. Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog.
  6. Do not play aggressive games with your dog (e.g., wrestling).
  7. Properly socialize and train any dog entering the household. Teach the dog submissive behaviors (e.g., rolling over to expose abdomen and relinquishing food without growling).
  8. Immediately seek professional advice (e.g., from veterinarians, animal behaviorists or responsible breeders) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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