Often, they start out with the best of intentions, eagerly caring out the chores of feeding and watering their new pet. But without parental supervision, the necessities of cleaning up after a puppy and energy required to make sure it gets enough exercise soon become tedious and tiresome for a youngster, who will begin to slack off.
Regardless of the responsibilities you give your children when it comes to the family pet, there are things that only the parent can do. It will be the parent's responsibility to take the puppy to the vet when needed, or administer medications. The adults also have to shop for pet food when it's time.
Though your children may have the best intentions in caring for their new puppy, there's are some things they just aren't able to do by themselves. When it comes to just about anything requiring monetary funds, it will be up to the adult to make sure it is taken care of. If your family is not prepared for this type of commitment, it is much better off for the pet's sake to hold off until the circumstances and commitment level of everyone is prepared for the responsibility.
Having stated that, there are still many tasks that are suitable for a child to undertake in caring for their pet. Caring for an animal is one of the best opportunities to teach a child about responsibility. Here are a few tasks that are excellent for children to accomplish:
- Feeding the Puppy: Children can quickly learn to develop routines and determine their pet's need for food and the amount that should be provided. They can learn to "budget" the food portions based on availability until the next trip to the store.
- Cleaning Kennels or Crates: Cleaning up after a puppy is not anyone's favorite task, but it will certainly test your child's commitment to their pet sooner than anything else. They will learn the importance of cleanliness in the health of their pet.
- Exercising the Puppy: Pets need regular exercise to maintain a healthy life. Kids already enjoy being outside, and they are perfect playtime companions for the family dog. They will easily keep each other stimulated, healthy and happy.
- Training through Repetition: Kids often learn many things by doing them over and over. The same is true with a new puppy. Repetition and consistency are key when it comes to successfully training a dog. Kids are naturally capable of giving a pet persistent training through things like teaching tricks and enforcing obedience commands. This also helps foster a close bond between the dog and the child that will last the pet's lifetime.
Parents should hesitate to let their child walk a dog alone. There are many scary situations that a child could end up facing that you may never have considered. For starters, many puppies have a tendency to chase other animals or even cars which could potentially place your child in danger. A pet could also get loose or they may come in contact with a more aggressive animal prone to attack.
Instead, consider walking your puppy as an opportunity to do something together as a family. This would not only be enjoyable for the child, it would also help the family and pet bond and provide many fond memories for years to come.
Yes, owning a pet is a huge responsibility, but it is a great way for kids to learn to be more responsible and productive citizens. They will learn that it often takes hard work and commitment to enjoy the pleasure of pet ownership, as well as life skills that will help them as adults.