Children and Dogs






Children and dogs, ice cream and cake, peanut butter and jelly are all combinations that go together so well.

Each one can disappear by eating it, with the exception of children and dogs. This is the combination that can create joy or be a sheer disaster.

The secret of what happens to this combination depends solely on you the parent (parents) and how you handle the experience.

It usually begins with the child nagging and nagging for a puppy. Eventually you give in and off you go to find a dog.

However, before you give in and go blithely off to find your pet, take a few moments to think about what is soon to happen.

You want your child to be happy, you think having a dog will teach your child responsibility and you may even have a mind set that says “if it does not work out” you can always take the dog to the shelter.

This is the general public’s way of thinking, but there is more to it than that.

Of course you want your child to be happy and puppies and kittens do create happiness.

Puppies do help teach children responsibility, but can you expect a child to be responsible 24/7? Of course not. The question here is how much responsibility are you willing to accept?

Puppies/dogs require training, they will tax an already tight budget with veterinary bills, they eat special food, and they can do damage to personal articles and property.

Are you ready to accept that part of the responsibility?

Bringing a puppy/dog home from the pet store and/or shelter with the expectation that all the promises the child has made will be fulfilled, is like expecting to find the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. A lovely thought, but very unlikely. Children are children and many of “today’s promises” turn out to be tomorrow’s memories.

Be realistic and search your inner being to see if you are really willing to assume “all” the responsibility, when your child fails to.

Threatening to take the puppy/dog back to the store or to the shelter is a poor way to teach responsibility to a child. The first thing it teaches is that a pet (cat or dog) is a “throw away item,” it has no value and therefore can be discarded like an old pair of shoes.

In a fit of anger the child may say “take it away” and not really mean it. Once the puppy/dog is gone, what are the feelings the child will experience? Guilt, grief, tears and possibly the feeling of blame, granted these feelings may pass in a few days or weeks, but it could also be the start of an inability to commit to anything in later life.

Getting a puppy/dog is an opportunity for a parent (parents) to teach a child not only responsibility, but empathy for another living being. It is a chance for a parent to be a positive role model for the child. Teaching commitment along with responsibility and caring with love, is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child.

A parent must teach a child that once a commitment is made there is no going back. Taking privileges away from the child for not doing its fair share is a good way to teach responsibility. Removing the dog is not, as that teaches a child, that a pet is something worthless and can be abandoned any time it wants. A lesson like that can have far reaching effects on later life relationships.

The idea of having a dog should not be a spur of the moment thing. The consequences of having a pet should be explained to the child and you, the parent should take time to realize the responsibilities you will have to shoulder in regard to time, effort and money.

Unless you are willing to be the responsible party, unless you have the patience to teach your child proper pet care and unless you feel in your heart that a pet would be a nice addition to your family, do not get one.

There are too many dogs wandering the streets, living in cages in animal shelters and being killed every day, due to people who got a dog on a lark, with no regard for its life, care or what happened to it after they lost interest.

Do not be one of those!

Helping Children Become More Responsible

Children love animals.  In order to foster a healthy relationship between child and pet, parents should teach children right away about animal care and responsibility toward animals;Teach them how to walk and groom your dog.   Bring them to the pet store to help pick out the best pet supplies.  Show them where you keep these supplies and food. Dog ownership should be fun; but don't neglect the'work' part either!


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