It is a common occurrence for children to beg their parents to bring a dog into the family. At first, the parents may be reluctant because they know how much care is required for this type of pet. Eventually though, the parents give in, and more often than not, they are the ones who end up with the responsibility of meeting the dog’s needs.
There can be a lot of benefits to bringing a dog into the family, which also has children. But, to really capitalise on these, the children must be taught age-appropriate responsibility for this new family member.
The first step is to choose a dog that is going to be appropriate for the children and will fit into the home environment. Meaning that there are specific dog breeds that are more kid-friendly. Also, the size of the dog has to be compatible with the living environment.
Setting the Ground Rules
If the new dog is being brought into the family because the children have been asking for one, then some ground rules for the care of the pet has to be set. If there is more than one child, then the care of the dog should be divided among them depending on their age. For example, the little ones can assist with feeding the dog and helping with the grooming. These are tasks that are great for the kids that still need supervision around their new canine friend.
The older kids can take on tasks such as walking and exercising the dog, which should be a daily routine. When it comes to house training the dog, this is something that will usually be up to the parents. However, the children can take on the responsibility of making sure the dog is taken out at the appropriate times.
Don’t neglect the clean up of the dog after they have done their business. This is an unpleasant task but one that the older children should also be responsible for.