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3 Things to Think About Before Getting Your Child A Dog

  • 04/04/2020
kids-and-dogs.jpgAt Christmas time, social media explodes with photos and videos of children and their new puppies. What an exciting time.

But I often wonder if parents have really thought this through before bringing the new “family member” into their homes. While many studies show that having pets contributes to both physical and emotional health of children, there are lots of things to consider before making this leap with a new dog. 

1.     Your Lifestyle

    If both parents work, and children are out of the home for daycare or school, what are your plans for the dog during those long hours of absence? Of course, there is “doggie daycare,” but that is pricey and may be out of your budget. You will need to have a safe and confined place for your new family member, but one that will allow some movement and physical activity. Caging a dog for long hours may be necessary sometimes, but to do so every day is probably not the best environment for the dog.

    Do you have one room that can be “doggie proofed?” This would be ideal. Giving a new dog the freedom to roam throughout your dwelling is inviting disaster.

    2.     The Breed You Choose

      Dogs have been bred for purposes. You need to do some research on breeds and their compatibility with children. And if you are adopting an adult dog, you must insist on knowing its history with young children.

      Certain dog breeds are far more patient than others – Golden retrievers, for example. Others are high-strung and more nervous – some terriers, for example – and may not be the best choice for young kids who can be a bit rough in normal play.

      If you are planning to adopt a dog from a shelter, good for you. But, at the same time, you must insist upon learning the dog’s history. Has that dog been around children? Is the dog “food aggressive?”

      The dog’s overall temperament is a critical factor in choosing your dog, so do the research and pick carefully. Nothing is worse than to get a dog home and then realize that it is not a fit for your household.

      You must also think about allergies. If any of your kids have allergies, your choice of a dog will be far more limited. There is a difference between dog hair and dog fur. In general, a dog that has “hair” will shed and promote allergic reactions. A dog with “fur,” like a poodle or some of the poodle mixes, will not shed and will not result in allergic reactions.

      3.     Who Will be Responsible for What?

        If you have school-age children who really want this dog, how much responsibility are they willing to take on? The experience of caring for a dog can teach kids a sense of responsibility. Who will be certain that the water bowl is always full? Who will be responsible for feeding that dog at the appointed times? Who will take it on walks or give it the playtime it may need in the yard or park? And if it’s a puppy, how about those “accidents” during the potty-training period?

        If your household is a busy one, then the responsibilities must be shared with children who are old enough to take them on. If they are not, understand that the care and training will all be on you.

        In the End…

        Getting a dog has many positive benefits for your kids. They learn to get outside of themselves and love and care for another living thing. They can establish bonds that are lasting. And they will come to learn a sense of responsibility for assigned tasks. Just be certain that you are ready for the addition of this new family member by preparing in advance.

        Author’s bio. Daniela McVicker is a contributor to Essayguard. She is also an experienced writer with a degree in social psychology from Durham University. Daniela is primarily focused on writing about self-improvement. She has authored a number of insightful and motivating articles like “Making The Right Choices Every Day” and “7 Steps To Open Yourself To New Opportunities & Possibilities”.

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