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Getting a family dog is a wonderful thing – it’s a great addition to the family, provides companionship, home security at times, and a best friend. It can also help you to teach your kids responsibility. No matter how old your children are, they should learn to look after something other than themselves. Here are a few things that you can do to help your child look after and take responsibility for their new pet.
1| Educate Them On Breeds
Whether you child is five or fifteen, they need to learn about the breed of dog you are getting. Bigger dogs can be harder to handle without proper training but can be just as loving as smaller dogs. Learn about the common traits of the breed you are going for, how often they need walking or brushing, and how much to feed them.
2| Get Them Involved
Involve your child in the preparation process. When shopping for toys and accessories, take them along. If they are going to be the one primarily looking after the dog, let them pick out the stuff for the dog. Also get them involved with adopting the dog – you’ll know when the right dog for your child shows up.
For younger children, you can set up a chart for them to follow detailing when the dog needs feeding and how much. Supervise them, but let them do it themselves. Having a regular task that is so important will help them to understand the concept of looking after another being.
If you’re the trainer, then teach your children how to make the right signals and say the right words for each trick. You don’t want your dog getting confused because you say sit with a flat palm raised, while your child says sit while pointing at the ground. It seems simple enough, but the dog responds to the sign and word – at least while they are still learning. If you have an older child, have them take the dog to training classes. This gives them full responsibility over the dog and gives them time to bond with the dog.
5| Teach Boundaries
This is more for younger children, but make sure they are aware of the boundaries your dog sets. You can teach them the signs of a nervous or annoyed dog so that they know when to back off, quickanddirtytips.com has a good basic guide on doggy expressions. Kids don’t always understand when a dog has had enough of them pulling on their ears or dressing them up in tutus. A lot of dogs out there are great kiddie dogs and put up with a lot for the sake of their two-legged friends, but every dog has its limit, and you don’t want your child caught in the crossfire.
Get your child involved in the health of your dog. Have the older ones take on the task of de-flea treatments, and having the younger ones take part in grooming sessions. The health of your dog is very important, go to sites like petinsurance.co for advice on insuring your dog. If anything were to happen and your dog needed medical attention, have your child understand the difference between a happy dog acting as if they are ready to run around for hours, and a dog who is actually ready to do those things.