Children and Puppy Policy
We abide by the Humane Association's recommendation. Although, they actually recommend the minimum age of the youngest child, for ANY DOG adoption to have a relatively good chance of success, to be at least 7 years old, we limit this policy to puppies six months of age or younger. There are basically two major reasons.
First, until that age a child cannot reliably understand proper behavior around a dog. If you have a puppy that is very submissive, it is likely to get hurt. If you have a puppy that is less submissive, you stand the chance of a child getting nipped, and the dog being labeled a "biter" -- often costing the animal it's life.
The second reason, and the one we, quite frankly, have seen more of, stems from where both child and puppy are developmentally growing. Toddlers and young children tend to move unpredictably and run around, and puppies are inclined to chase them. Children often respond by shrieking and other high-pitched sounds. This leads the puppy to chase even more, and often nip as if playing with a littermate.
The child is not recognized by a puppy the same way that an adult human is -- again, it is developmental. The result often is a child who is afraid of the dog and is truly not enjoying the experience. The animals are then either crated or relegated to the yard, or taken to a shelter.
Over the past couple of years, we have made exceptions to this rule. They were made, for the most part, for families with a lot of dog experience. Almost every instance turned out poorly. After the experience of numerous placements with young children, we believe our policy is the right one.
Having a dog can be enjoyable for a child. But it should be an adult dog, and one that understands children. When a family with young children comes to us looking for a dog, most often we try to place one who has proven him/herself to be good with children in one of our foster homes.
We appreciate your understanding and acceptance of this policy.