Teaching children the responsibility of caring for pets – Part 6

Your Children’s First Pet: Care and Responsibility

Cute little cuddly puppy dogs, soft playful kittens: every child wants one! Few children realize the responsibility that unconditional fur ball will bring. Your pet will grow up! He may always be cute, but he won’t always be that hunk of baby fat that your children fell in love with. Your pet will need more and more exercise as he grows (depending on what kind of pet you get of course).

So when you bring that little creature home sit down with your children and teach them to care for that helpless mutt or squawking parrot before the responsibility is too much to handle and the pets go unwanted.

Here are a few guidelines for caring for your new pet:

Divide the responsibilities. If you choose a dog, decide who will take him for morning walks, and who will take care of the evening walks. Be consistent. Dogs need at least two walksps a day to keep their minds and bodies fit.

Keep a chart of responsibilities. Caring for a pet is much more than keeping their water fresh and food bowl full. Pets need exercise, discipline and affection, in that order (whether dog, cat or horse it is all the same).

Exercise. Every pet needs proper exercise just like people do! A properly exercised pet is less likely to be a bad pet.

Discipline. Discipline needs to be consistent. Everyone in the household should have the same rules for the pet and follow through with them. Even the children can be involved in discipline. This is a good chance for the children to learn to give correction and still be kind.

Affection. This is the easiest one to give but should not come before exercise or discipline. If the pet is misbehaving, for example, giving him affection at the same time will only reinforce the bad behavior. Teach your children that all of your pet’s needs to be met, not just the one that is the most fun to give!

Follow through with these steps and you will have a long, wonderful relationship with your new pet and your children will learn patience and responsibility!

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