Owning a puppy not only teaches your child responsibility but respect, patience and more. They can learn life lessons by owning a dog, which includes loyalty, exercise, and sadly, even grief. For your child, having a puppy can boost their esteem, and keep them healthy and active.
While no child should be left completely in charge of a puppy, being a part of its well-being and happiness can have a positive effect on your child and family as a whole. In this article, we are going to discuss how owning a puppy can help your child become responsible, which is a life lesson we all need.
How Owning a Puppy Can Help Your Child Take on Responsibility
Talk to Your Child
Are they asking for a puppy? If you are going to get one, talk to your child about the care and help that a puppy needs. They need to be trained and get lots of attention. They are part of the family and need interaction, play, and to be given food and water. Depending on their age, you can give them age appropriate tasks that can help with the puppy.
For example, small children can help you with brushing the dog and playing with them, although they should always be supervised. For children who are a little older, they can help with feeding, water, exercise and more. Those will be gone over below.
Feeding the Puppy
Children can measure out the proper amount of food for the puppy. Be sure that you have food for puppies and not for adult dogs as the nutrition is not the same. Ensure that there is water in the bowl that is fresh. You can write the food schedule for your new puppy and post it somewhere to make sure that your child knows when feeding time is and has a reminder set out for them.
Your child could probably use your assistance here, but they can sure have a hand in training the dog. They can either home train or take classes so your dog can learn obedience as well as where to use the bathroom. You can work to teach the puppy commands by using various methods, including treats as a reinforcement. This also helps your child to bond with the dog, and practice patience as the puppy learns the rules.
Your child will also learn how to clean up after the puppy. They can learn to clean up the dog’s dishes, put the dog’s toys away, and learn how to pick up puppy poo. This is an important part of the responsibility as your dog cannot live in a dirty environment.
Your child can also learn to help give the puppy a bath. Here, they can learn how to properly clean the puppy for the future, and learn how to groom them as well.
Exercising and Walking the Puppy
The new puppy is going to grow into a dog one day and through its life it will continuously need proper exercise. This can include playing Frisbee in the backyard, chasing a ball, or even running around the block. You can even take the dog to a dog park to play. Even going for a walk will get their heart rate up. This can help your child stay fit as well!
When they do take the puppy for a walk, they should be able to successfully attach the leash to the collar, and carry a small bag to pick up any poop. The puppy must also be able to follow some basic commands.
Be sure that your child understands that dogs are not toys. They cannot get tired of taking care of it, as it needs to be nurtured, fed, and given positive attention. Teach them that just as your child needs your attention, the dog will need theirs, and they will have to give it, no matter what the puppy needs. This will teach them the value of the puppy and of life.
Dogs are a Privilege
Give your child a choice between which tasks they need to cover when it comes to the puppy. Let them do things like feeding, walking or exercising. This will help them bond, and your child will realize that dogs are a privilege, and what they are doing is not exactly a chore.
Then, you can help your child realize the success of their actions. For example, if your child brushed the dog, you can respond by telling them how nice the dog’s coat looks, with it being shiny, thus healthy. This can help your child feel rewarded for their help, and therefore more willing to keep caring for the dog.
However, there should always be play time with the dog, so your child can enjoy having a companion that will participate in activities with them.
When you have a pet, your child will learn so much about life. For example, your child will learn to trust, as a dog is always loving and supportive. This can expand to other relationships your child will get into in the future.
Loyalty is another life lesson your child will learn, as a pet is always there for the family. They will learn how important it is to be a good friend to others.
Sadly, there will come a time where your pet will pass. This is when your child will be aware of grief, which is one of life’s hardest lessons.
To wrap it up, it is important that your child knows how important it is to maintain the life of a puppy. They must be responsible, willing to partake in the betterment of the puppy, and participate in its life each day. Pups are a 24 hour a day responsibility, like children, and their needs must be met.
From feeding, bathing, to exercise, your child must be willing to care for the new puppy in each way possible. With your encouragement and some help, your child can learn responsibility, empathy, and companionship by having a dog in the household.
Author Bio: Anna Smith resides in beautiful Santa Monica, CA, where she works as a Pet Nutrition Expert in a leading retail pet store. She is responsible for nutritional strategies for different breeds and development of new products on the market in compliance with Association of American Feed Control Officials. Anna’s passions are education about proven methods and best practices in the industry and her dog Max, who is always well-fed. She also helps curate contents for DogsAholic.com