|Hendrix- my grandchildren's dog|
At some point in time every child asks for a horse, a kitten, or a puppy. How do you decide if a puppy or dog is the right pet for your child?
The first questions to ask are not necessarily about the breed or the size of puppy or dog but more specific to the responsibilities associated with pet ownership. Who will be taking care of the puppy or dog? The majority of children no matter what age will do the following with a puppy or dog… a) feed it when reminded, b) water it when reminded, and c) play with it when it suits them. Children become easily distracted when it comes to pet responsibilities. All of the care of a dog or puppy may not be age appropriate to expect a child to accomplish on a daily basis.
The second thing to consider is your living situation including how much space you have for a dog or puppy. Dogs and puppies need space, an area to sleep, an area to potty, and a corner of the world to call their own. That space may be your bed, your child’s bed, a crate, or a utility room but space should be considered when choosing the breed and size of the pet you want. The potty department will require several walks a day if you don’t have a fenced yard. That can pose a problem if you have young children and little extra time. Potty training a dog or puppy also takes time so deciding whose responsibility that chore will be is important to avoid conflict after the animal arrives.
Next, think about the expense of having a dog or puppy. The initial cost of the animal may include spaying or neutering if the animal is adopted from a shelter. If the animal is purchased from a breeder, the additional vet expenses for the procedures, immunizations, worming, monthly heart worming medicine, and daily food are all part of the expense of owning a dog or puppy.
Other things to consider when deciding if a dog or puppy is the right pet for your child should include the temperament of the breed. Aggressive dogs may not be the best choice for small children. Teaching children how to be safe around a dog or puppy should always include avoiding the food bowl when the animal is eating, soft petting and not pulling of tail and ears, and avoiding taunting an animal into aggression.
After the tough questions are answered, a new dog or puppy may be the perfect addition to your family. Children respond well to soft playful puppies and loyal bigger dogs. There is nothing more satisfying than to have a wagging tail meet you at the end of a rough day. Keep in mind though that most children are too young and often too busy to be the sole caregiver for a new pet. Families that share the responsibility of pet ownership and understand the safety of pet ownership will also share in the unconditional love those dogs and puppies give back.