Taking care of a pet is an enormous responsibility. Of course, it’s also an essential responsibility for families in millions of households across the country. Learning to take on some of the tasks involved in pet care is a challenge for small children. But as they approach double figures or those tween years, it can be used as a valuable opportunity to help your child to understand what is involved. So how can you start to encourage your child to take on a more active role in taking care of your dog?
Should I Supervise?
It’s important to remember that all children and pets should be supervised at all times when they’re together. That means you need to take the time to show your kids the best approach to common tasks like grooming and feeding. The bigger the breed of pooch, the more challenging walking can be for smaller framed people like children. However, learning how to walk your trained dog responsibly can still be a good idea. If your dog or puppy hasn’t been fully trained yet, wait until this is complete before encouraging your kids to get more involved in their care.
Dog Training First
Ideally, your dog’s behavior should be pretty predictable and consistent. If your whole family knows your pet well, then you’re less likely to be doing things you know your dog doesn’t like. Start with feeding. It’s good to explain why food is measured or weighed out. You can raise issues like healthy diets that relate to our own lives. Talk a little about the nutrition label on the foods you use. Remember to explain the importance of fresh water every day. Perhaps you have a set time of day for feeding your dog. Can your tween take this job over now?
You should groom to keep the fur in good condition as well as to help your pooch look his best. Learning how to groom your dog properly is very important. Washing or bathing is an important part of their hair and skin care too. Of course, ultimately, it’s about good hygiene for the whole family. Talk to your child about dirt in the furniture and carpets too. How can you work together to avoid things around the home becoming unhygienic? Don’t forget – there are some parts of his body that your dog might not like to be touched. Make sure your tween is well aware of this!
Maybe Not THAT Bit
It’s not necessary to ask your child to pick up your dog’s mess. Instead, accompany your child when you go out to the dog park so you can manage it. The type of activities your tween can get involved in is behavior management. Teach her to call the dog back successfully and provide her with a plan of action if your dog becomes distracted. Talk about the importance of paying attention to other dogs and their owners too. One of the most important skills your tween can learn is to reattach the harness or lead quickly should she need to bring the dog back.
These early lessons will soon progress to an in-depth knowledge. Your child will have the skills they need to care for your pets. And they’ll soon be big enough to manage on their own! How do you teach your kids to become more involved in pet care?