Beagles and Children

Some Things To Consider

Depending on the age of a child, the prevailing question should be: "Is any puppy a good choice for a toddler?"  As long as the child is old enough not to hurt the puppy, and to keep the sharp nails and baby teeth from hurting them in play, then yes.  However, if the toddler has not been exposed to puppies or kittens, then perhaps any puppy is not a wise choice.  In those circumstances an older dog is better able to protect itself, and will not scratch the child.  But for those who are ready for a puppy, or dog, there is nothing cuter and more heart-warming than a child with his/her Beagle.

Generally children under five who haven't been raised with a dog, regard puppies as a stuffed toy that does cool things.  They have trouble relating to the fact that it is alive, and can be hurt.  We have witnessed young children beating on puppies with hands, fists, toys, sticks, etc.  We have seen puppies thrown into a pool, stomped on, and thrown to the ground when a child gets angry, and accidentally dropped when they are not angry.   A Beagle will never stop loving that child, but the Beagle can be seriously hurt.

Conversely, puppies have very sharp nails that can easily scratch a young child, in play.  They have sharp little baby teeth that they use like little alligators when they play.  Young children don't know how to discipline them, instead they hold their hands above the puppy and wiggle their fingers in anticipation of pulling it back (without ever touching the puppy).  Puppies interpret this hand motion as a cool game to play - called catch the fingers.  It hurts the child when they do catch a finger.  Young children need to be taught how to play with young puppies, and supervised, so that they both remain safe.  Puppies will treat a young child as a sibling, until the child learns to become a disciplinarian.  

Puppies will take children's toys when left out.  Some of these toys may be dangerous for the puppy to have.  They could be toxic, or the toy could have small parts that can be swallowed by puppies and create a blockage.   So, beside making the child angry at the puppy, there also is a health concern for the puppy.

Young puppies should not be given access to areas where they cannot be watched.  Be vigilant with puppies, as they will find trouble.  Remember it can be fatal to puppies that bite into an electrical cord or consume household cleaning chemicals.   Puppies will find things you didn't know you had, go into spaces that never existed, and their favorite toy will become your best artifact, if not contained young.  Limiting access and removing the opportunity for trouble, or formation of bad habits, is the easiest way to ensure a happy puppy and a happy family.

Beagles are wonderful dogs for children who are old enough to enjoy the puppy.   Any puppy is seldom wonderful for anyone who is not prepared for the responsibility of raising one.   Preparation will ensure  a happy, loving, family member to bring years of joy and companionship to any child.