Getting a dog can be a very exciting experience. It gives your kids some added responsibility and it also gives them something to care for. If you want to prepare your kids for getting a dog, then there are a few things that you can try and do.
Understand the Dog’s Background
It doesn’t matter where you purchase your dog, or even whether you choose to adopt. You need to know the dog’s history, and you also need to know if they are aggressive around children. At the end of the day, your kids should always come first and by knowing information like this, you can be sure to make the best decision. A lot of people think that they can force an unwilling dog to accept a child, but this should never be the case. It will end up in an almost certain disaster, and it will also put pressure on the family as well.
Treats are like currency, for canines. They are a fantastic motivator when you use them properly.
If you want to help your kids to understand this, then start by giving your child a couple of treats to hold. When the dog is being well-behaved, or when they do a trick on command, tell your child to give them a treat. This will help your child to bond with your new pet, and it will also help the dog to be more accepting of your kids too. When your child hands out a treat, make sure that they keep their hands flat as this will stop their fingers from being nipped. As time goes on, you can use the treats less and less.
You should always tell your child to use gentle body language. You also need to tell them to use slow, and deliberate gestures. By doing this, the dog is aware of when they are going to be petted, or stroked and it also helps your child to respect the dog’s feelings too. Of course, you do need to tell the child about the dog’s body language too. They need to listen out for warning growls, and they need to know when to leave the dog alone. If your child does not look out for these signs, then your dog may end up with anxiety or they may even resist having a close relationship with your child. Remember that not all dogs will have been socialised to deal with new people and they might not all act the same way either.
Getting a dog is a fantastic way for you to teach your child responsibility. They need to know when to feed them, when to give them more water and even how to help them to stay healthy. If you want to help your child, then try and assign them certain jobs. This could include filling up your dog’s bowl in the morning or it could even involve letting them out in the yard. Depending on how old your child is, you may not want to let them take the dog out for walks to begin with. The main reason for this is because younger dogs tend to pull on the lead, purely because of how excited they are for their walk. It’s very easy for a child to lose control here, so always insist on holding the lead yourself until the dog calms down a bit.
Looking after a dog isn’t just about giving them food and water. They are essentially becoming a member of the family, so you need to look after their health too. This could involve taking them to the vets and even getting their claws clipped from time to time. Your child may love giving your dog a treat from time to time and this is great, but they do need to understand that if they do this too often then they could risk harming the dog’s health. Your friends may ask “why does your dog’s breath smell so bad?” and you may even notice that they start to become overweight as well. All of this can be contributed to a poor diet, and if you can teach your child about this then you can help them to understand the needs of the dog you have much more efficiently.
So, getting a dog can be great for the whole family, but it is important that you teach your child how to look after them and how to care for their immediate needs. The sooner you do this, the better experience you will have.