Teaching children the responsibility of caring for pets – Part 7

How much is that doggy in the window? Well let’s see shall we. First add the cost of one ruined carpet followed up by three new pairs of shoes and maybe the replacement cost of a chewed up coffee table or two and there you have it! Is it worth it? Yes! The benefits of having a pet far out way any little set backs that may occur during puppy training. First thing you have to come to terms with when choosing a pet for your children is the fact that you probably will end up doing much of the work. Even with the most cooperative and attentive child, some of the daily grind of taking care of a new pooch will fall on mommy and daddy so it’s best to go in with that knowledge right from the start.

Once you have made the decision to add a new member to the family the next step is research. The adorable little mutt at the pound may be overwhelmingly endearing but that doesn’t mean it is the right fit for your family. It is best to research which types of dogs or cats respond best to children. Once you have made that determination it is time to start getting your children used to the idea of responsibility. This should happen right from the start. So while you are googling Dalmation temperaments your children should be right there next to you, involve them every step of the way. This way your children will understand instantly that there is a lot more to pet ownership then just some fun fall walks to the dog park and puppy tug o war. The most important thing to remember is that a dog, cat, or any pet is more than just a companion for your children. A pet is a lesson in responsibility. Your children will feel a sense of accomplishment when they are fully involved in the care and well being of another living thing.

Once you bring your new bundle of joy home training begins. Make a list of all pet care chores so that your children can visualize what each day with their new pet will be like. All feedings and walkings should be assigned to family members according to your preference and children should accompany the pet to any vet visits that take place. Sometimes parents tend to take over all responsibility for the pet in order to avoid confusion and to ensure all pet chores are done properly. Don’t do it! It is important that you chart out a routine and stick to it! If a child has a new pet but shares no rsponsibility for it you are only cheating that child out of a valuable experience.

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