Ask just about any household and they’ll tell you the ultimate completion to any family is a pet. For the majority that pet would be a cute little puppy that can grow with their children. It’s like the trendy saying, “a boy with his dog.”
I am guilty of dreaming of having not just a dog to grow with my boy but one for each of my three girls too! That meant I needed to be ahead of my game in knowing how to properly care for a puppy times four.
Granted we didn’t get all four puppies at the same time. Rather as each child neared the age of 5 they received a puppy as their special gift of a lifetime. I knew it was important for my children to learn responsible ownership and for us that began with selecting the puppy right up to training and beyond.
3 Tips for Teaching Kids Responsible Dog Ownership
Even though it was my dream to offer my children a dog to grow with that didn’t change the fact that I wanted them to share in the responsibility of their new friends care. After all that’s a large part of why most families desire to have a pet to begin with.
Here are the three steps I took to help teach my kids responsibility:
They Helped Research and Pick the Puppy: I am a firm believer in understanding your dog’s breed before you bring them home. Dogs are bred for specific energies and temperaments and require very different lifestyles.
I sat down with my children when the time came to pick their puppy and pulled up the dogs they said they liked the most. I let them influence greatly which breeds we looked at because they would be the primary provider. For my son he needed an active large dog to keep up with him. My youngest daughter needed one that was timid and low energy.
We began by finding which breeds met the lifestyle and energy levels of my children. Then we narrowed them down into groups of dogs I was able to care for as well. My son settled on a pure bred Golden Retriever. My youngest daughter selected a dachshund/Chihuahua mix. My middle daughter ended up choosing a Basengi mix and my oldest daughter wanted a pitbull terrier.
Preparation for their New Puppy: The next step before bringing home a new puppy is to purchase supplies and set up a plan to provide a stable routine. We sat down as a family and discussed first and foremost mom’s rules for the dog in the house. We talked about things they would like to be able to do like let the dog sleep in bed with them and established a time frame for those desires to be implemented.
Everyone agreed that the puppy had to be house trained and past the chewing phase before he could sleep free in the bedroom or run loose in the house. We set other rules like not getting on the furniture or being allowed to jump on us.
Once the rules were established we needed to make up a list of supplies and purchase everything ahead of time. This was the most exciting part for the kids because they knew it was almost time to get their new puppy!
Working on Training: The next step took place after bringing the puppy home, teaching them obedience. Because we are a big family I wanted to complete our dog training at home so everyone could participate.
To begin we set training goals for ourselves by deciding how far we wanted to go with out training. For us it was enough for our dogs to know some basic commands, listen to us when we give direction and be outgoing with our company. Our trainer helped us develop a plan that was fit for our personality and our lifestyle.
After establishing a plan the kids and I practiced daily with our new puppy and they grew to truly appreciate the ownership of their new companion. Fast forward 10 years and observe my 16 year old daughter with her senior chihuahua today and you will have not doubt that she truly understands how to care for and love her doggies.
When you’re ready to get that new puppy to grow with your child remember, include them in every aspect of dog ownership and you’ll be amazed at the bond you’ll watch develop!
About the Author:
Mikki Hogan, dog trainer and publisher of MyDogDidWhat.com has been helping families enjoy dog ownership by offering dog training online in a unique and friendly atmosphere. Using years of experience Mikki helps families worldwide meet their dog training goals.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents considering getting a puppy for the family.
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