Well , I have been around dogs my whole life and have been working with them for over 20 years , in shelter situations as well as in my own home and counseling people .
First of all , did you decide to get pregnant before you thought about , what responsibility it is ?
Same thing goes for being a pet owner , a dog needs and craves attention , it deserves love and proper training and it , like a child , needs to know its boundaries .
If you got a dog for guarding purposes , it was NOT the right reason to get one . Don´t misunderstand me , I have 5 dogs , 2 of them huge , and they are very protective , but they are also very much a part of the family pack .
A shelter dog has most definitely had some trauma in its life , otherwise it wouldn´t have been in a shelter .
Those animals (and I am speaking from experience) are usually so grateful , that somebody gives them a home , they guard everything and everyone , including , what is probably the first own dog bed , that your dog ever had
The dog needs proper training , it needs to know , that it doesn´t have to leave and that it´s okay for others to live there , too , and that she has a place in the family .
Plus , the mix you´ve got , are two of the most high-strung , energetic breeds , you can have . Those dogs are not only highly intelligent , they also need a job , or else they get bored and in trouble .
Your kids need to learn to respect the dog´s privacy , that means , leave the dog alone , when it eats , sleeps or clearly indicates " I need my space now"
That does NOT mean , that the dog is allowed to agressively guard his food (which due to the situation is very common in shelter dogs) , but that´s why it needs to be trained .
And I have to say , that from what I have seen , most of the cases , when a dog bites a child , it´s something that was provoked by the kid . That´s not an excuse or give the dog a right to bite , but you have to look at the big picture .
I have kids and they mean everything to me , but they know , that the dogs also have a right not to be harrassed .
Toddlers are rough , and your toddler needs to be reprimanded firmly EVERY time , she pesters the dog , since being loving to her may very well be pestering to the animal .
I totally agree with greenmagick , a dog is a big commitment , and there is no way I would recommend a shelter dog to anyone , who doesn´t have dog experience . Good rescue groups , where the animals are in loving foster homes , and have a family life , before they get rehomed are one thing , but an overrun state shelter , where the animals are caged up , is a whole other ball game . How can a shelter employee , no matter how dedicated , make a real , true judgement as to whether a dog is kid-friendly ?
I´ve worked with shelters and most people , when they drop off their unwanted pets will tell you anything to get you to take the dog or cat , so that is not a good place to go , especially if you don´t have the time and experience to invest in a potentially disturbed animal .
Sorry Crunchyclark , but maybe you are also better off without a dog , since from reading your post , dogs must put up with everything the kids do to them and if they don´t fit the scheme perfectly , they got to go . Well , they are not a piece of replaceable furniture , they are JUST AS IMPORTANT as people and they have the right to a good home .
If one of your kids doesn´t trun out the way you expect , do you send it back as well ?
So , my advice , find a good , reputable trainer , or get in touch with a no-kill shelter , or rescue group , there are plenty online willing to even take mixed breeds . But for the poor animal´s sake , don´t wait too long . !
If you do decide to put in the time to train and keep it , kudos to you , remember , they are SOOO worth it !!!