Bringing a dog into a family with small children is sometimes no easy task. I think that sometimes people have the wrong idea about the interactions between dogs and kids. On one hand, introducing a dog to children will help a child develop empathy, sense of responsibility, patience, and compassion. On the other hand it can turn into an accident waiting to happen.
One of the practices I absolutely hate the most is giving puppies at Christmas time. This is a real bad idea on a number of levels. One is that you are showing the child that the dog is an object or a plaything and you really have to show the child that this is a living, breathing being. Secondly, most kids will become infatuated with the dog for about the first two weeks. Then, you guessed it, it becomes your dog. Oh sure kids are all gun ho at first, but after the novelty wears off, be prepared to take on all the chores and responsibilities yourself.
Never mind training the dog, you have to train your kids on how to treat the dog, how to play with the dog and how to respect the dog. The kids have to learn that this is not just another stuffed toy.
Not every dog is right for some kids and not every kid is right for some dogs. I say this over and over; you have to get a breed that fits in well with your family and your lifestyle. I would consult a canine professional for this. I would also invest in training both the dog and your kids. Do it together as a family. And you should adopt a “zero” tolerance policy for aggression of any kind. Whether it is directed at the dog from your kids or vice versa. Kids have to be taught, not to look directly into a dogs eyes. I recently did some work for a breeder and spoke to their client before they received the puppy. It was a very cute little puppy. I asked if there was a small child at home. I gave them a complete rundown on how they should interact. Of course they didn’t listen to a work I said. When they picked up the dog from the airport and brought it home, the 6 year old grabbed the dog right out of the crate (having just completed a 3 hour plane flight) and held it right up in his face. Can you guess what happened next? That’s right, you guessed it; the little puppy nipped his nose. The mother thought she just brought home Cujo. It was actually kind of funny.
Also, you should probably look into a “low maintenance” breed of dog. Simply because taking care of kids is a full time job in itself. Adding a dog to the mix doesn’t make life any easier.
When done correctly, bringing a puppy into a family can be a very rewarding experience. Just take your time, consult a canine professional and done correctly this can provide memories to your child that will last a life time.