It has often been said that pets teach children responsibilities and dogs are often a tradition and popular choice of pet for children. In fact, parents, youth groups, camps and even schools with special programs are now using dogs to teach, instill or foster a variety of attributes in children and young teens. But Purebred Breeders is curious to know how exactly dogs help children become more responsible. It seems there are number of reasons, among them are the following:
- Taking care of a dog means having a routine and obligations that have to be adhered to.
- They become responsible for a living, breathing thing.
- There is a sense of accomplishment.
- They have the opportunity to learn empathy which can help them to think twice before doing something irresponsible to someone else.
How to Harness This Power
Parents or guardians play a big role in the success of this process. It must first be understood that the child is getting the dog under certain conditions. The child should then be advised on all the responsibilities that come with a dog. Purebred Breeders urges parents to outline literally everything. A dog will need to fed, cleaned up after, groomed, walked, played with, trained, socialized, kept hydrated, house trained, and petted. Healthcare is also vital. While the child may not be responsible for some of these (i.e. healthcare, training and socialization), he or she must be an active part of taking care of the dog.
Explain how often these must be done, why it is important, and what happens if the child does not keep his or her end of the bargain. This is also where Purebred Breeders believes parents ought to exercise judgment. Remember that dog ownership will affect everyone, not just the young owner. Remember also that dogs need stability so only get one if someone is willing to take care of it if the intended owner no longer wants to, it is unfair for the pooch to be abandoned for this reason.
In an ideal situation the child will comply, even if unwillingly at first, and the two will begin to bond. Purebred Breeders feels once a bond is formed then the two are likely to be inseparable and soon the child will start to do what he or she knows has to be done, not so much because of the deal, but because of the friendship. As the young owner becomes more in tuned with the dog’s needs, emotions, and the sense of accomplishment from a job well done the child may extend these lessons to the world around him or her.
What Must Happen
- Ensure that the child feeds and walks the dog.
- Cleaning up after the dog must be the young owner’s chore.
- The child must understand that his or her responsibility to the dog overrides personal wants such as preferring to play video games or talk on the phone.
- He or she should be allowed to be a part of the decision making process so a sense of control is there to complement the sense of achievement when things get done.
- Purebred Breeders recommends that the young owner be praised for sticking to the deal. It is unwise to overcompensate. after all keeping the dog is the reward but acknowledgement for his or her work can help tremendously.