We have a 10 yr old special needs child. We are currently in the market for a family pet that will act as a companion for him as well. We've gotten lots of feed-back so far, unfortunately all that we've recieved has been conflicting. Can someone give us information on which breeds would be the best suit for us or which breeds we should stay away from?
No one can answer that question for you, you have to try to narrow down exactly what characteristics you want and call some breeders and ask if you can just come and observe the parents with your child and see how it goes. People are partial to the dogs they own. I have a shih tzu and I can see that as being a fine dog as they are cuddle you, lap dogs but it might not be what you want. Golden retreivers are frequently used as service dogs, but I don't know if you want a dog of that size. Every breed has pros and cons. I still say to visit a shelter and see if there is a dog whose personality takes to your child.
Where I live, there are programs where volunteers specially train a dog so that it can go into the care of someone who has special needs. I would ask your local humane society if they know of such programs and how you can apply. Talk to them about wanting to adopt a gentle dog that will be therapeutic for your son. Even if they don't know of such programs, they may be able to work with you to find a dog that would fit with your family :)
I would suggest narrowing your list down to a few breeds that sound good, and then going to quality breeders and talking to them about their dogs and meeting adult dogs that they have there. If possible, you may even want to bring your son to meet some of the dogs and see how he gets along with each of the breeds. I know it seems like a lot of work, but I think that would be a really good way to get a feel for how each breed would work in your family. Labs are great for people with special needs, but the only concern I'd have is that they can be very energetic when they're young...I don't know if that would be a problem for you or not. If it would, you may want to consider adopting or buying an adult lab. Not necessarily an old dog, but one past the puppy/teenage rambuncious stages.
I really appreciate this you guys. You have no idea what we've been going through. I had no idea there were so many different breeds and personalities of dogs out there. It's amazing! Your ideas and suggestions will be well excersized. I'll keep you posted...
i dont want to get personal here and if you dont want to say that is fine. but what kind of special needs does your son have. ? that may help tremedously in trying to find the dog for you. do you want one that canhelp your son with certain things now, as he gets older, etc. labs and goldens do make wonderful service dogs but the majority are specially bred for the jobs they may have in the future. they are put through rigorous tests to see if they have the temperament to be a service dog. and they are usually at least 2 21/2 years fo age before they become a service dog. you cant just go to any lab or golden breeder and expect to get a dog with the qualifications of a seeing eye dog. you really need to decide if you need the dog to be a service dog, or just a companion. if it is to be a service dog then there are many organizations out there that will match a dog to your specific needs.
As foster parents of special needs children we have a house full of collies a beagle and a springer spaniel. Collies come as smooth coat ( short hair) also if you dont have the time to groom. We have found them to be excellent with the kids. One of our kids is in a wheelchair and we were told the dogs would be afraid...Not only were'nt they afraid the beagle begs to go for rides. The best is one of the kids wanted so badly to take one of the collies for a walk on a leash that he worked extra hard at getting out of his chair to reah that goal.
I think you should buy a golden retriever. They are cute and cuddly and are one of the best dogs to train. Not only that they very rarely grow to be overly big so no worries there about size. I think this would probably be the best choice. ill keep thinking anyway.
Beagles tend to be very good pets for children. They are very loving good natured dogs, that all in all usually get along well with kids. Not overly entergetic with proper excerise. I also agree a lab or a golden might be a nice choice they make nice family dogs, they only draw back is that they are considerably larger than Beagles, and goldens have all that hair to take care of. I would recommend getting a dog book and making a list of what are important characteristics your family needs in a pet, and checking to see what breeds might best suit your needs, obviously with a special needs child in the house yours may have to be more specific than other peoples. Getting an older dog that has already been obedienced trained might be a big blessing for your family also, avoiding the puppy problems.
I also have a special needs child who is 5 1/2. mild autism and mild retartdation (3 years delayed). I have pugs and they have been in his life the whole time. Very sturdy and kind natured. Great kid dog. Good Luck with your search :) I'm sure what you find will make him/her very happy.
great decision to get your child a pet. they are so theraputic. this is why i have dogs. my dad passed away from his cancer. but i got my zoe when i was caring for him in hospice, my sisters all got puppies.
the month and a half he was in hospice we had 3 new pups in the house along with many of his dogs. He had helped us name them and he would sleep with my puppy.
Now zoe takes care of my broken heart, I got her a sister named cashmere. I just love them so much.
I chose chihuahuas because my mom had one named Itchy and she helped me so much I didn't want to go home w/0 having a dog to comfort me.
I also am very busy and I needed to litterbox train. There are a couple breeds that need alot of exercise and are less apt to be paitent. You should also consider the MAINTENANCE of their hair, health and their ability to learn...
My mom got a boston terrier. i heard they are easy to housebreak, they have short hair, and are good with children. I hope this helps
Description: The Boston Terrier was developed to be a companion and watchdog. He is easy to care for, small in size and has a delightful disposition, he is a odor free dog who rarely sheds. Loves to go for walks or rides in the car, he is one of the most popular breeds in the United States because of his affection nature. The Boston Terrier is a compact, well-muscled dog, his head should be in proportion to his size. A joy to have around, he can sometimes be determined and self willed.
You are getting a lot of conflicting choices because out of the 400 or so breeds out there in the world, there are only a small number of breeds that would make poor companions.
Rather than concentrating solely on your son's needs, I would suggest taking into consideration you whole family's lifestyle (active, less active, couch potatoes), the living situation (apartment, small yard, large yard, ranch), other animals (cats, birds, other dogs), other children (infants, toddlers).
Have you tried the Yahoo pet recommender? Go to the following link and you will find this service at the bottom. Answer a few questions and they will give you suggested breeds.
I do therapy dog work, and I can tell you that dogs are great for special needs children (or all children, for that matter). Virtually all breeds and sizes can make good companions for kids, individual temperament is the key.
I have just read this about the Shichon. I am looking into purchasing one for different reasons. Mine are they are very intelligent, and good with other animals. (I have a cat). It is a small dog that is considered a companion.
he Shichon are fairly easy to obedience train. Stable, outgoing, playful, and alert with an air of dignity, curious, very intelligent, devoted and attached to the family. Good with children. This breed is not yappy and is usually fairly quite. The Shichon is said to be highly intelligent. One family stated that since the puppy was so quite they wanted some way of teaching the puppy to tell them when he needed to go outside to do its business. They came up with the original idea of teaching him to ring a bell that was placed by the door. They taught the pup to ring the bell with its paw to let them know when he had to go outside. They had only had the pup for four days; he was only 13 weeks old. These dogs are very devoted to their families and do not like to be left along all day long with no company. If are going to be gone all day you may want to think about getting two dogs or even a cat to keep it company. One owner stated that their Shichon's companion is a ferret. The Teddy Bear variety tends to be more suitable for small children and children with Autism and other disabilities. The Gremlin variety has a little more spunk and do well with older children and adults. However, they both love and are great with children.
The Shichon Club of America was formed in March 2000. The Shichon is being developed as the ultimate companion and therapy dog. We saw the need to develop a small dog because of the growing demand for a dog that has good health as well a good steady temperament for families with children. They will be the primary therapy dogs for Haven in The Heartland ( a non-profit organization that combines pet therapy for children with Autism, cerable Palsy, seizure disorders and other disabilities. They also continue to serve their local communities rescuing, rehabilitating, fostering animals in need, from shelters, puppymills, and take in other abused or unwanted animals.)
Thank you all very much for your ideas and recommendations. We have had many different recommendations from this site, pet shops, pet stores, vet offices, his school, and many more. It just seems like everyone has a specific breed that they see to be a better fit for our son. We are very open to them all at this time and are continuing our search for a wonderful pet for our son. To elaborate on our situation our son is 10 yrs old with mental and physical delays: but don't get me wrong he knows just how far he can push a certain situation and will if given the chance. Mentally he is 5-6yrs delayed and physically 3-4yrs delayed. He can be very excited at times so we need a dog that can tolerate that. He doesn't talk yet but uses hand gestures or just takes you to what he wants/needs. We are not to concerned with size ,unless jumping up would be a problem which we would hope to minimize with proper training, we have a house with a decent size backyard for playing and running around for both our son and the dog. Once again we would like to THANK EVERYONE for all your input and look forward to seeing more from this update.