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How to Get Your Kids to Help Care for the Family Dog

by Heather

Pets can teach children many valuable life lessons. Not only do children develop their social, emotional, and cognitive functions with the help of a pet, they also have more confidence. That’s why getting a pet is a wonderful idea if you have children! Dogs can be wonderful pets for children. However, in order for your children to fully benefit, it’s a good idea to encourage your kids to help care for the dog. Here’s what to do:

Pups

Photo Author: Flickr

Let Them Help Choose the Dog

If you don’t have the dog yet, letting your child choose the dog should help give them a sense of ownership. Make sure the breed of dog suits your lifestyle, however, as different dogs are good for different kinds of people.

Show Them and Explain to Them

Whenever you do something for the dog, whether you’re feeding them or grooming them, show your children what you’re doing and explain to them why to do it. You can then ask them if they want to try. Praise them and tell them they are doing a good job, or guide them gently in the right direction if they need more help.

Create a Calendar

Once your children seem confident with grooming and how to feed the dog, you can create a calendar. Outline in the rota who is due to feed the dog and when, who is due to groom the dog, and perhaps even who is to distribute medicine for older kids. Eventually, the kids should be able to look at the calendar without you reminding them to do their chores. You can include other chores on the calendar too; it doesn’t just have to be to do with the dog.

Go on Walks Together

When walking the dog, take the children with you. Hopefully, you will have trained your dog to walk nicely next to you and not pull. If so, you could supervise the children and see if they’d like to hold the dog’s lead. A flexi lead is good for this. One day, you both may feel confident enough for the child to take the dog out alone. However, it’s always wise to be careful of other dogs, especially if they are off their lead.

Benefits of Teaching Children to Care for a Dog:

  • Loyalty – there’s no pet more loyal than a dog! Seeing a dog get excited about their arrival is sure to boost your children’s self esteem.
  • Exercise – dog’s provide much needed exercise for children, whether they’re walking them or playing in the yard.
  • Patience – a dog can teach a child patience and compassion.
  • Communication – your child may learn valuable communication skills from the dog, as they send silent signals day to day.
  • Socializing – socializing with the dog will build your children’s confidence to socialize in general.
  • Responsibility – most importantly, children will get a sense of responsibility when caring for a dog.

What are you waiting for? Get your kids involved and everybody will benefit!

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