Michael Wombacher, author of Good Dog, Happy Baby.
Topic: Preparing your dog for the arrival of your child.
Issues: How to evaluate your dog and identify potential problems before the baby arrivers; how to resolve common behavioral problems such as barking object guarding, jumping up, overprotectiveness, and more; how to be sure your dog understands his place in the pack; teach your dog to build positive associations with the baby.
Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parents, Happy Siblings.
Topic: How to stop the fighting and raise friends for life.
Issues: The most common mistake parents make with siblings; why you shouldn’t force your kids to share; how and why to schedule meltdowns; ways to foster sibling bonding; when to intervene in a sibling fight; should you force your kids to apologize to each other after a fight?
Dear Mr. Dad: I really want a dog but my wife doesn’t think it’s safe with our 2-year old daughter. Is she right? Aren’t there some benefits as well?
A: A dog could make a great addition to your family, but you and your wife are both right: there are some risks and rewards.
Some of the risks include:
- Aggressive behavior. Dogs, even the nicest ones, can be unpredictable, and there’s always a risk that it could attack, bite or otherwise harm your daughter.
- Defensive response. When dogs act aggressively, it’s often because they feel threatened. Some dogs are fine with being chased, having their tail pulled, having their food eaten, or even having a finger stuck up a nostril (my daughter did this to a friend’s dog). Others will react in much the same way you might if someone did that to you.
- Rough play. Dogs can get excited and might accidentally knock your daughter over.
- Allergies and fleas. Pretty self-explanatory.
- Messes. Toddlers, preschoolers, and dogs have accidents. It comes with the territory. Plus, some dogs may tear up your house if they get left alone for too long.
- Time and money. Dogs aren’t like goldfish—you’ll need to spend a lot of time walking, grooming, and playing with it. Will that cut into time you’d otherwise spend with your wife or daughter? In addition, PetEducation.com estimates that keeping a dog costs $800-$2,500 per year.