What To Do When the Kids Want a Dog

when your children beg for a dog

It’s inevitable: if you have children, there will come a point in their young lives in which they ask, “Mom, can we get a dog?” While raising a dog may not be anywhere near the top of your to-do list, don’t be so quick to pooh-pooh the idea. While dogs—especially puppies—certainly come with their fair share of responsibility, they actually make great companions for children both young and old. Moreover, they are great for teaching children responsibility. Though you may be hesitant to cave to your children’s endless barrage of requests for a pet, if you thoroughly consider the benefits of owning a dog, and if you carefully consider what type of dog might be best for you family, adopting a four-legged, furry friend might just be the best thing you can do for your family.

 

Benefits of Adopting a Dog

First and foremost, you need to convince yourself and your spouse that adopting a puppy is a good idea. If you are not on board with a dog when you adopt one, chances are that the loveable feeling won’t come along any time after adoption. With that in mind, consider these top benefits of adopting a pooch:

 

  1. Dogs Teach Children Responsibility:

 

If your children are old enough to care for the pup themselves, teach them to do so. While chores are great for teaching children to help out, they aren’t great for teaching children that their actions (or inactions) can have consequences. For instance, if they leave their shoes lying around and the dog chews them up, it will teach them that their failure to put their shoes away resulted in their shoes being torn up. If they don’t take the dog for a walk first thing in the morning and the dog defecates on their bedroom floor, it will teach them that their failure to wake in time to take care of their responsibilities resulted in even more work for themselves.

 

  1. Dogs Teach Children Compassion and to Control Their Emotions.

Dogs are hard work and can try a person’s patience—even a young person’s. Every time the dog goes to the bathroom on the living room rug, or every time the dog chews up a pair of shoes or a beloved toy, it can get difficult to suppress one’s anger. However, suppressing anger is exactly what the child needs to do if they hope to raise a loyal and loving companion. As the dog grows into the obedient and loyal pet they imagined, they will quickly learn that compassion and patience are far more conducive emotions than anger.

 

  1. Dogs Teach Children to Care for Another Living Creature.

Along the lines of teaching children responsibility, owning a pet teaches children to care for someone or something other than themselves. Even small children are aware of when a dog needs food or water, or if they are hurt or ill, something that children without pets do not comprehend until they are in their teens or even out of the house.

 

  1. Dogs Encourage Exercise.

Dogs are naturally active creatures and need regular exercise to maintain a healthy body and happy demeanor. Every time your pup gets antsy, it is yours (or your children’s) job to walk them or to take them to the park and let them run around. This, in turn, gets you and your children out of the house for a bit of exercise of your own.

 

  1. Dogs Bring Families Together.

Even as your children grow older and start to develop their own lives, family dogs serve as a reminder of when your children were young and actually wanted your attention. Bust out the family photo albums and reminisce over the days when Jane was just a toddler and Fido just a puppy, and laugh about the time he pulled Dad to his butt when he was just learning to leash train.

 

Considerations to Make Before Adopting a Dog

When you agree to adopt a pet, you are not just agreeing to bring home a toy that your children will play with now and ditch later; rather, you are agreeing to a lifelong commitment—or at least a 10 to 15 year commitment. For children, that is generally the rest of the time that they have left to live with you. That being said, you need to ensure that the pet you adopt is getting a forever home when they go home with you, which means that you need to be able to accommodate them now and as they grow older.

 

Some considerations to make when looking for the right dog to adopt include:

 

Size and Breed:

First and foremost, it is important that you research breeds ahead of time. You do not want to adopt a German Shepard only to realize that they are overly protective and don’t get along with the guests that you frequently have over. Additionally, you do not want to adopt a pit-bull and then not put anytime into training him properly, and thereby aggravate the already negative reputation an otherwise gentle breed has. Every family’s situation is different, so don’t rely on other people’s opinions to select the right breed for you.

 

When researching breeds for children, consider whether or not you want the dog to be an indoor or outdoor dog; whether or not you want to spend considerable time training, or just the bare minimum amount of time; whether or not you want a playful dog to interact with your children, or a guard dog to protect the home; and whether or not you want a dog that will welcome guests or be on edge whenever infrequent guests come around. Additionally, do you want a dog that needs frequent grooming like a long-haired lab, or a dog that requires very little grooming, such as a bull dog?

 

These are all important considerations to make, as you don’t want to adopt a dog only to realize five months down the road that they don’t play with your children or aren’t friendly towards guests. Figure out your needs, then speak with a knowledgeable breeder like CT Breeder to determine the breed that will best fit your family’s needs.

The Puppy’s Needs:

Dogs, like humans, have special needs too. From dietary needs to medical needs, and lifestyle needs to grooming needs, it is important that you are willing to ensure that your puppy’s needs are met at every stage of his life. If you are not willing or are unable to take your pet to the vet for his yearly checkup, to ensure that he is up to date on his shots, or to provide him with the proper food and nutrients he needs to grow into a healthy, full sized adult dog, adopting a puppy may not be right for you.

Your Needs:

Unfortunately, many people adopt a dog only to realize that they are allergic to the dog’s dander, that they cannot monetarily keep up with the pup’s needs, or that their future landlord has a restriction on the pup’s particular breed. They are then forced to return the pup to the shelter from which they adopted him, or worse yet, to sell him on the “black market.” While none of the circumstances are not necessarily the fault of the owner, they are things to consider before adopting a dog. If you are aware of any pet allergies that you or a family member has, if you anticipate financial troubles, or if you do not yet own your own home, you may want to reconsider adopting a pet.

 

If you still want to adopt a pet despite any of the above, research breeds that are relatively low maintenance, that are allergy-free, and that most landlords accept. A professional at CT Breeder can help you identify a breed that meets your needs.

 

Your Household:

Do you have children or other pets? Are there any creatures or people in your home that may actively display fear towards a new, canine addition to your home? If so, and if you plan on adopting a new puppy, slowly introduce your children and other pets prior to bringing the pup home, as simply throwing him into the mix can increase stress for everyone, including your children and the new dog. Whether you plan to adopt from a shelter or a breeder, most responsible organizations will request that you bring any pets or children to meet and interact with the dog until everyone is comfortable and friendly with one another. If the organization does not request that you do so, bring the topic up yourself. If they do not allow you to a meet-and-greet, consider working with another breeder or shelter.

 

Adopting a pet is a great way to teach children responsibility, compassion, and patience. However, that does not mean that you should just go out and adopt a dog as soon as your children look at you with those big ole eyes and beg you for a new pet. You need to do your research and make sure that you and your family are willing and ready to take on the responsibility of a new family member, and to give him the forever home that he needs.

 

With that in mind, a responsible and knowledgeable breeder like CT Breeder can help you determine whether or not adopting a dog at this point in your life is the right move for you. If it is, they will help you find the right breed for your family and give you the tools you need to make sure that he has a long, happy, and healthy life.

 

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Posted by
olesia@themammothgroup.com

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