Having a pet is a major responsibility, and many children beg their parents for a dog. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 36.5% of households in the country have dogs. A furry canine is the pet of choice, and your children may already be asking for one of their own. While you might be on the fence, there are several positive things to consider.
For starters, you should tell your child that if you do decide to get a dog, it’s their responsibility to take care of it. Most children are so eager, they’re happy and willing to help become their pet’s caretaker. The truth is, dogs can teach children many important lessons that will help them in school and throughout life. Here are five of them:
Responsibility is the most important lesson that a dog can teach a child. Dogs require daily exercise, affection, potty training, and feeding. These are no easy tasks, and require the utmost dedication and patience. Your children will learn the importance of being on a schedule; they will need to feed the dog at least twice a day regularly, as well as take them out to use the bathroom and clean up after them.
Pets need round-the-clock care and attention, especially when they’re younger. When they have a dog, they’ll learn that it becomes a priority over recreational things, like playing the game or heading over to a friends house. Not only will they learn how to be responsible, but how to attend to and prioritize tasks. For instance, instead of purchasing a dog bed, why not get them involved in making a dog bed on their own?
It’s very important for children to learn, understand, and have compassion. It’s critical that children develop a strong sense of empathy at a young age. When children are young, they can be naturally egocentric, and a dog teaches them that there are other important things in life to care for. When children develop a sense of empathy and compassion, it encourages tolerance, helps them build a strong sense of security, allows them to develop better relationships, and promotes social harmony. When a child takes care of a dog, it allows them to understand how the role they play can help another living thing survive, thrive, and be happy.
The Importance of Staying Active
When your child gets a dog, one of the first things they’ll learn about your canine is how much they love to move and play around. In a time where obesity rates are at an all time high in America, this is an important lesson to learn. Dogs love to have fun and part of that fun is movement. In fact, research has shown that dog-owning households have families that are more physically active than those that don’t. And the more they play with their dog, the closer they will become with the dog and the stronger that bond will grow.
Training a dog doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, and building a bond depends on a person’s patience. Your children will learn to be patient as their pup learns to use the bathroom, respond to commands, and even learn new tricks.
Dog behavior is not always exactly the way you want it to be. This can be frustrating, even for children. Sometimes they slobber, and sometimes they’re simply too excited to sit still or listen. Your child will learn to be patient with your pet, and as a result, learn self control. Instead of giving up when the dog doesn’t listen, they’re try different methods of commanding them. Ultimately, they’ll come to understand how careful actions and patience are effective at working with their pet, rather than against it.
Love and Loyalty
Dogs are referred to as the most loyal animals that we can own. And as such, they can teach children plenty about love and loyalty. First and foremost, children will learn that they need to provide for a dog to help it grow, and to do so without expecting anything in return but affection. As the relationship grows between the dog and the child, your child will learn to love that dog. You’ll likely find that your children want to do whatever they can to make the dog happy, and this is the start of a great, healthy relationship.
Dog Behavior – A Way to Learn Many Things
As you can see, there are many ways that dogs can benefit the household and your children. It’s important that as a parent, you do your best to assist them without taking over the responsibility. For example, if you notice that the pup you’ve adopted or purchased is more anxious or aggressive than normal, you can work with a professional trainer or give the dog a few drops of CBD oil to ease their nerves (here’s how CBD works in dogs). Allow your child to make their own decisions when it comes to their pet, while gently nudging them in the right direction and stepping in when necessary.