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How often have you seen pictures of families with a dog in it and wondered how they managed to pull that off, or IF you can pull that off?

Such pictures are littered all over social media, so my guess is, you’ve thought about it – a lot!

Imagine if you could juggle kids and family dogs, and still have enough strength to beam at the camera. That would be awesome, right?

Well, you can!

In this article, I’ll show you how you can manage the troubles that come with having kids and a dog without going insane.

Before that, we need to go over the benefits of having a dog in your family, especially for the kids. Here’s…

4 Benefit Kids Get From Having a Dog in The Family.

1. An introduction to being responsible. 

How to make kids and family dog work
Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Kids that grow up around dogs learn very early that they have to look out for someone other than themselves. 

Maybe you’ve already taught them to keep their room neat, unload the dishwasher, and give a hand when needed. However, learning to take care of another living being is a different responsibility entirely. 

You can teach your child to walk the dog, feed him at the right time, clean up after him, and bathe the dog. Yes, they won’t perform these tasks perfectly the first few times they try, but they’ll catch up with time.

2. Kids who grow up around dogs are healthier.

How to make kids and family dog work
Photo by Treddy Chen on Unsplash

A recent study on children who had pets (dogs and cats) growing up has discovered that the kids that did were less vulnerable to illnesses. And even when these kids fell sick, their immune system responded to a shorter and less potent course of antibiotics than those that didn’t have dogs around them. 

A different study found that children born to parent(s) with respiratory asthma or allergies are less likely to inherit the ailment if they had a dog in the house. It is believed that exposure to dogs at a tender age helped boost their immune system.   

3. It helps develop emotional intelligence in kids.

How to make kids and family dog work
Photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash

Everyone is familiar with IQ, however, research has shown that EQ (Emotional Intelligence) plays an important role in children’s development. With a dog to practice on, children quickly learn about EQ, a large part of which involves reading emotions in others. 

Caring for a being other than oneself requires compassion. Walking, feeding, and bathing a dog when there are other interesting things to do will teach a child to be selfless. It also helps your child bond with the pet. This bond promotes the release of Oxytocin (happiness hormone) in kids' (adults inclusive) brain, making them less anxious and stressed.

Aside from that, caring for a dog helps children build healthy self-esteem. Completing small tasks like refilling the dog’s water or meal bowl helps a child trust in their competence. 

4. More opportunities for kids and family dog to play and exercise.

How to make kids and family dog work
Photo by Zach Kadolph on Unsplash

How do you peel your children off the couch and away from the TV?

Get them a dog. 

With a dog around them, children get to run around, play, and stretch more than those without. This isn’t just a ‘good for kids’ thing. Dog owners find it much easier to put on their running boots and jog or head to the gym.  

That being said, how do you actually juggle kids and dogs without burning out?

How to juggle kids and family dogs.

1. Make a routine.

Clock and calendar | How to make kids and family dog work

The first thing that separates families that successfully integrate a dog and one that doesn’t is a routine. 

A routine that works is one that is beneficial to everyone involved. And it has a substitute in case one person is predisposed. 

Establish a schedule for walking, feeding, exercising, and relieving the dog. Help your children understand the benefits of this schedule and why they should stick to it. Trust me, after some time, they’ll be the ones reminding you that it’s time to walk or feed the dog. With a routine, you can stop your dog from waking you in the middle of the night. 

2. Create a safe space where they can co-exist.

Dog and girl playing indoors | How to make kids and family dog work

One way to make dogs and kids work is to create a safe space for them to be. Remove all toxic plants (if you have any), hide Lego pieces, and small toys that can be ingested. Hide footwears, socks, power cables, and any other thing that can cause harm to both kids and dogs. 

The same goes for the backyard. You have to remove anything that can be tripped on, hurt the feet, or not suitable for play. You want them to play and have fun in the sun without you reaching for the first aid kit. 

3. Make provision for body and mind enriching activities.

Dog and child playing in the field | How to make kids and family dog work

When making a schedule for your family, remember to add mind-stimulating activities to the routine. A great way to keep the body physically fit is to incorporate long walks into your day to day activities. 

However, you also need to stress them out mentally too. Get your dog a food puzzle to play with, while your kids are working on jigsaw puzzles or playing monopoly. 

You can encourage your kids to read a story to your dog while he’s munching on his favorite toy. This way, your dog gets to exercise his brain while your kid practices his reading skills.  

4. Hire a reliable dog sitter/walker.

Dog walking in a harness | How to make kids and family dog work

Once in a while something you never expected comes up at the last minute. You have to quickly dash to the grocery store, your kid has music practice, or whatever event takes precedence over being with the dog. 

When this happens, which it will, you’ll need the help of a trusted dog walker or sitter. It could be a neighbor’s teen or a paid dog companion – BTW, you should find a way to compensate your neighbor’s child though. 

This will prevent your dog from developing separation anxiety when he’s left alone, or overwhelming you with attention when you return.  

5. You can ditch the gym, but not the workout.

Woman and child exercising | How to make kids and family dog work

It’s very common to see regular gym members slowly withdraw with the addition of a new family member. However, if your routine is tightly packed and you can’t make it to the gym, don’t just sit on the couch or eat chocolate. 

You can go for a hike, an extended walk with your dog, or just stretch right at home. There are mobile apps that show you how to use your weight as gym equipment. If yoga is your thing, clear a space, and follow some YouTube videos. You’ll feel happier, healthier, and less anxious or stressed afterward! 

Remember, the longer you stop exercising, the harder it’ll be to restart or find time for it.  

6. Establish a sleep time for your kids and family dogs.

Establish sleep time for your dog and kids | How to make kids and family dog work

We all need some time off to rest our heads after a long day. While kids and dogs can go on playing forever, you have to include sleep time in the routine. 

20-30 minutes before sleep time, put a stop to every frantic play session, and make everyone just chill out. Take the dog out for one last potty break to prevent him from waking you at night. Snuggle for at least 10 minutes with your kids before letting them doze off to sleep. 

Your kids may request that pooch sleep in their bed. But, it’s up to you to decide if letting the dog sleep in their bed is a good idea. My advice? Decide before they ask so you don’t make a hasty decision. 

Teach children how to interact with dogs.

7. Say ‘No!’ a lot.

Look, children are children. They’ll try to treat the dog like another human or a smaller version of themselves. They’ll try to drop the dog’s meal in his mouth, pass him food from their spoon, apply cream on the dog’s coat, or hug him a little bit too tight. 

Say ‘No!’ very often. 

It goes without saying that you need to supervise play sessions. A lot of times when a dog resorts to biting, it’s because the play was inappropriate or hurtful to the dog.

8. Let them get permission before petting. 

It’s much easier for an adult to read a dog’s body language. From an adult perspective, you can tell if the dog is tired of playing with the kid for the day. Is sick or in pain, or just wants to be on his own. So, teach your child to seek your permission before petting the dog. 

9. Let the dog know that you’re friendly. 

Dogs get terrified when someone suddenly reaches out to them. Teach your child that the best way to safely interact with the family dog is to offer an open invitation. Let them stand back, open their arms out, and beckon the dog to come to them. 

This serves two purposes. The dog calmly goes to the kid if he feels like doing so. And, there’s little risk of sudden aggressive behaviors towards the child. 

Once the dog sniffs their hands and warms up to the kid, then it is safe to gently stroke him. However, they should use one hand to stroke under the chin, the head, and the back. This way the dog can feel where the hand is and isn’t startled by any movement. 

10. Put yourself in the dog’s paws.

This one boils down to empathy. Ask your child how they’d feel if the sibling started poking them while they were trying to sleep or eating.  

11. Hands off the dog’s mouth.

Except the dog is licking, teach your child to steer clear of the dog’s mouth. Most bites are accidental, maybe the child wanted to get something from the dog’s mouth or place something there. 

When playing fetch with the dog, teach your kids to use two balls. When the dog fetches the first one they threw, they should throw the second. The dog will drop the ball in his mouth and fetch the second ball. This way your kid doesn’t have to pull the ball out of the dog’s mouth and risk getting bit.  

Last but not least. 

Remember, nobody is perfect! 

The people beaming in those family pictures you fantasize about missed a couple of appointments. They sometimes forget to walk the dog, their dog soils the house once in a while, they forget some items on the grocery list and they misplace their keys too.

You just have to do the best you can to weave these tips into your daily routine, manage unwanted behaviors as they arise, and attend to your dog’s physical and emotional needs, just like you do for your children – which they are!

So you want to adopt a new dog in Thailand and have everything run smoothly.

Isn’t that the dream of all dog owners?

A dog, like any new addition to your life, is a game-changer that will affect your work, relationship, hobbies, and free time.

Many dog owners complain about how adopting a new dog is like having a baby.

Luckily for us, many people welcome babies and dogs into their homes every year. So, if they can do it… so can you!

Hopefully, this isn’t one of your ‘new year, new me’ fad. But, you’ve actually thought long and hard about your decision to adopt a dog and it is rock-solid – seriously, you should do so if you haven’t.

I’m now going to show you the smoothest way to adopt a new dog In Thailand and get the dog settled into your lifestyle.

Let’s start with what you need to do before the dog arrives.

1. Before Bringing Home An Adopted Dog.

Adopt a New Dog In Thailand | Northern-Lites Puppies, Golden Retriever and French Bulldog puppies
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Adopting a new dog and bringing it home is not like buying kitchenware (no offence to kitchenware). You must plan and adjust your home as well as lifestyle to accommodate the new addition. These 7 steps can help you do just that.

a. Determine The Best Dog Breed for You – And Your Family. 

Dog breeds differ and so do families. 

That’s why it is important to do thorough research when choosing a dog for your family and lifestyle.

Be honest with yourself!

If you love to do things indoors on the weekend or have little time left after work, you’re better off with a low-energy breed. Or if you live in an apartment or a small home, a cattle dog that needs room to run is probably the worst choice. You will have an easier time living with a French bulldog.

If you can’t decide on a breed of dog, consider taking a dog breed quiz to help you narrow your options.

Another factor you should consider is the dog’s age – do you want a puppy or an adult dog. 

They both have pros and cons, so the decision is a personal one. Do you have the patience to train a puppy or the perseverance to deal with an adult dog’s baggage?

Carefully go over the behaviours you are/aren’t ready to deal with. Then pick the age of your new dog based on that.

Remember, they both have pros and cons.

While you’re at it, consider members of your household that are allergic to animals. Are they okay with a dog or do they need to make some changes that’ll help them live with the new dog?

b. Choose a Good Vet.

Yes, choosing a good vet before getting a dog is the best way to go about adopting a new dog in Thailand.

That’s because many pet adoption processes require you to list the name of your vet before the application is approved. So you see, having one makes the adoption process hassle-free.

Get suggestions from family and friends. Then contact the recommended vet to let them know you are about adopting a new dog and you need information concerning their vet practice.

Find out what hours they are available and if they offer after-hours emergency service, plus how much they charge per visit so you can compare. I recommend meeting your top candidate in person so you can analyse how they interact with humans and animals.

I must warn you though, just because you don’t vibe with a vet doesn’t mean that they are not ‘good’ at what they do. Some of them are so deep into their practice that they relate better with animals than with humans.

Use your intuition. 🤷

Once you decide to work with a particular vet, go ahead and ask them to recommend a dog trainer in Thailand, food brands, and must-have pet supplies. 

It’s okay to have a different preference. However, having access to professional input when you need it will make the job of caring for your new dog easier.

c. Purchase Supplies for Your New Dog.

There are lots of dog supplies you can get for your new dog, but you don’t have to buy all of them before your dog arrives. To avoid feeling stressed and overwhelmed on the day you bring your new dog home, it is best to have the basic dog supplies in place – you can borrow some from a friend.

When you’re at the pet store or browsing online, be mindful of the size of the dog you are buying these things for. A french bulldog’s supplies are smaller than those of Mastiff or Golden Retriever, especially the sleeping bed and crate.

Here are the basic supplies you need to get started:

Look around for appropriately-sized products for your new dog. I usually advise new Nothern-Lites Golden Retriever and French Bulldog owners to get a non-slip stainless steel food and water bowl like the YETI Boomer to prevent spillage.

If you are getting a puppy, a nylon collar is a good option to start with. However, you should get something bigger and durable for when they hit adolescence – preferably one that comes with a name tag.

When buying food for your new dog, look for a brand that lists meat and proteins as ingredients, followed by whole grains such as barley or oats and vegetables such as broccoli or potatoes.

You need to pay extra attention to the first five or six ingredients on the list, as they make up most of the food. Avoid sweeteners, chemicals, and corn products and byproducts.

This should be a food brand that your vet says is okay. However, you are not going to feed your new dog this dog food immediately. You will know why later on.

A good quality bed is of utmost importance to a dog since they spend a lot of time there. You don’t have to go for something expensive, but always opt for a comfortable memory foam bed – one that matches your décor.

If you are getting a new puppy, you don’t need anything fancy yet. A basic six-foot leash made of strong, nylon material will do just fine. Avoid retractable leashes – at least, until your dog has learned not to pull on the leash.

Though most owners view a dog crate as some sort of prison, it is far from that. A good dog crate provides a ‘den’ that your dog can hide in when he wants time off from the world. It can help keep your dog calm and prevent destructive behaviours while you are away.

Since you can’t spend all day playing with your new dog, you’ll need to provide a means of relieving boredom. A good toy or two should get you started, but I recommend getting more than 4 toys. You’ll want to avoid these common mistakes dog owners make that ruin dog toys so you don’t buy toys every fortnight.

If you work from home or want to restrict your dog from accessing some part of the house, you’ll need an ex-pen or a baby gate. This is really helpful for dogs that like to explore, especially in the early days when they’re yet to understand basic “leave it” and “come” commands.

While shopping for food grab a bag of treats for your new dog. The treats should be given out during training and as a reward for good behaviour. As with the dog food, ensure to go over the ingredients of the dog treat too.

When choosing supplies such as collars, dog bed, leash, or crate, pick for the adult version of your new dog and not the puppy version. I say this because dogs grow overnight: if you purchase a puppy bed or crate, it will become small and uncomfortable for the adult dog before you know it.

d. Prepare Your Home. 

Prepare your home to receive a pet before bringing in a new puppy. 

Walk around your house and remove all items that might hurt a dog. Go a step further – or lower – to puppy-eye level and remove all items you don’t want them to damage e.g. USBs, power cables, shoes, socks, etc.

e. Assign a Safe Space for Him

Even if you dislike dog crates and you’ve decided not to get one, your dog still needs a ‘den.’ I recommend creating temporary private space for your dog with plywood or cardboard until he/she starts treating the space as his spot. Visit and feed him there to make the process faster, however, make sure the kids and other pets are denied entry.

f. Set Aside Emergency Funds for Your New Dog.

Bringing home an animal is more than just paying up the initial adoption fee. It’s your obligation to care for your new family member when they fall sick.

An emergency visit, usually in the range of 350 THB to 1200 THB often forces pet owners to make difficult and devastating decisions about their pets. Do not forget that dogs need grooming, food, worming medications, and they also need to be treated for fleas.

So, make sure you set aside money to care for your new dog. And try to separate it from your other expenses.

g. Think Long-term. 

You won’t always be at home or have free time to spend with your dog, so make sure the decision to get a dog is not a spur of the moment or out of boredom.

Things change!

Train your dog to enjoy spending time alone so when both of you are away from each other, he won’t misbehave. Still on thinking long-term, when your dog displays a new behaviour that you don’t like, ensure that you correct him immediately.

These little things make looking after a dog less-stressful.

2. When Bringing an Adopted Dog to A New Home.

Adopt a New Dog In Thailand | Northern-Lites Puppies, Golden Retriever and French Bulldog puppies
Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash

a. Plan the arrival.

The day of adoption is the beginning of a new chapter and is usually the most exciting day for both humans and the new dog.

If you can, take some days off work or pick your dog on the weekend so you have time to get him settled in. Or adopt from a reputable dog breeder that can deliver to your home in Thailand.

However, avoid adopting a dog at the start of a long vacation. That’s because the dog will get used to seeing you at home and might develop separation anxiety when you have to go away.

Your new dog is filled with fear, anxiety, and other emotions. He/she will need someone beside them to comfort and assure them that everything will be okay, so have someone drive you to the pickup location or to comfort him while you drive.

Remember to take the dog collar and leash with you. And avoid making any distracting stops on the way home.

b. Remain calm. 

I know it is tempting to welcome the new addition with excitement. However, you must remain calm when picking up your new dog. 

You can think what you like of the shelters or dog breeders, but your dog was familiar with that place. You are now moving the dog to a new and unfamiliar environment. So feel the excitement, breath, and be cool as the breeze.

c. Become Invested in Training. 

I recommend signing up for obedience training classes within two weeks of ownership, even if your dog is pre-trained. These classes, usually 150 THB or less, are useful for both the owner and dog as they help establish who the boss is.

Another alternative is to search YouTube for dog training videos. However, results are not guaranteed and there’s no one to point out the little details that need to be worked on.

d. Establish A Routine. 

Just like humans, dogs thrive where there is routine. Before your new dog arrives, discuss with your family member who will be in charge of a certain dog-care regimen. 

Who will feed the dog at night? Who will walk the dog in the morning and evening? What areas are off-limits to the dog? Who is responsible for grooming the dog? Etc.

These are still necessary even if you are a solo dog owner. You need to have the contact of a groomer and a dog walker in case you need help with caring for your dog.

3. When Your New Dog Gets Home.

Tiny dog on gress lawn. Adopt a New Dog In Thailand | Northern-Lites Puppies, Golden Retriever and French Bulldog puppies

As soon as your dog gets to his new home, you have to make him feel comfortable, safe, and familiar with his surroundings. Here’s how you can pull that off:

a. Get Your New Dog Settled at Home. 

Once you have completed the adoption and your dog comes home with you, be prepared to witness a lot of excitement, especially when the dog gets comfortable.

Dogs are curious about their environment, so expect to see him run around and sniff everything that smells new to him.

However, your dog’s energy will dip once this phase is over. There’s absolutely nothing to worry about. The dip in energy is just your dog’s system letting go of all the stress from his time at the shelter/breeder, the ride home, and stimulation from all the new sights and smells.

Who wouldn’t sleep after going through all of that?

The more comfortable he gets, the brighter his personality will shine through. So, let him be.

b. Tour the house and its inhabitants. 

Feel free to take a tour around the house – on a leash though. This is recommended to help your dog understand and familiarise himself with his new home. Only do this when your dog's energy level has returned to normal.

This is also the right time to introduce your new dog to the family or roommates.

c. Less Touch is better. 

Try to do less speaking and touching during this early stage. Your dog doesn’t know what it is like to be around you, so don’t speak or touch him when you don’t have to. He will likely think that’s a command.

You are better off snapping your finger, making a “tshh” sound, or offering treats to communicate approval or disapproval.

This will help him focus on you and try to read your body language all the time.

d. Remain calm and assertive. 

Your dog is going to make silly blunders, but keep your cool at all times. He is still learning his place in the new pack, how the rules work here, as well as getting used to the new house. 

And to learn that, he is looking up to you – and your family member – for directions on when to be playful, quiet, or sleep.

e. Start House Training Immediately. 

Always work with the assumption that your new dog is not house trained – even if you got an adult dog. Check out this dog house training video and train your dog accordingly.

It will be tough and your dog will soil the house a few times, but what matters is consistency and a routine specifically tuned for him. If your dog keeps soiling the house even after completing his house training, then you should go through this article to quickly find and fix the cause of house training issues.

f. Head Over to The Vet. 

For most pet adoption organisations, the process of adopting a new dog is not complete until you’ve taken the animal to a vet to confirm its health status.

We recommend doing so within the first few weeks of adopting a puppy in Thailand from Northern-Lites Golden Retrievers and French Bulldogs. This visit determines whether there are underlying health issues or if their system needs to be boosted with vaccines and vitamins.

And, most importantly it is when you get to ask as many questions as possible and establish a plan for ongoing care.

If your dog has not been spayed or neutered, now is the time to make that appointment or find out when you should.

Oh, and remember to get your pet microchipped.

g. Slowly Switch Your Dog's Food. 

Your dog is used to eating a particular type of food, it is not proper to rush the switch to the new dog food you bought while getting supplies. The way to do this without risking gastric upset is by slowly adding the new dog food to the old one while deducting the old one.

For instance, let’s say you feed your dog 5 ounces of dog food each mealtime, you can slowly introduce an ounce of the new food and 4 of the old food.

Now move to 2 parts new food, 3 parts old – only when he shows no loss in appetite or gastric problems. Keep going until you’ve completely removed the old food from his diet or you run out of old food – recommended, to avoid wastage.

And, finally...

Remain conscious of what’s going on in your head.

Woman looking at the sea. Adopt a New Dog In Thailand | Northern-Lites Puppies, Golden Retriever and French Bulldog puppies
Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

This is where most new dog owners fail.

They direct so much of their focus outward on the new dog, that they forget to monitor what’s going on in their head. Then one day when they get overwhelmed, they lose it and feel like they made a mistake adopting the dog.

That’s to be expected.

And the truth is, when you expect to feel horrible on some days, you won’t see it as a big deal when you finally do.

Understand this. Adopting and bringing a new dog into your life is a life-changing decision, but it won’t always be this way. 

One day you’re going to wake up and think “huh, it wasn’t so bad after all.

And the way you get to this point is by monitoring your thoughts and emotions. Know when you are frustrated and reel yourself back in so you can see the bigger picture. 

When you feel exhausted, relax.

Some of the best dog owners I know of often miss a vet appointment and they reschedule another. They forget to walk their dog in the morning and they make up for it in the evening.

One day your dog will be tightly knitted into your routine so much that you won’t even break a sweat to do these things.


Trust the process!

Royal Kennels Golden Retrievers and French Bulldogs is a family-run training & breeding kennel dedicated to producing a small number of healthy field-bred puppies each year.
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