The way you teach kids to treat your pet is going to reflect on how he will interact with his peers, environment, family and eventually reflect on his life. Iwas really overwhelmed with joy when a family friend of mine adopted a pet. The kids were excited and the parents jubilant. I was happy for the family, and more so for the dog that he had finally found a nice loving home. And so you can imagine my shock when a few months later I heard that they had returned the dog to breeder, because they realised they could not handle the responsibility of the dog 24×7. I felt sorry for the dog who had to start all over again after having found a home. And when I asked the parents about it, they said the dog care was getting too demanding and they could not cope with doing all the work, something which the kids had promised they would take care of.
After returning from their house I could not help wondering if the irresponsible kids were to be blamed or was it really the parents at fault, since they had failed in teaching their kids to be responsible for the pet. Many kids beg their parents to get a dog home, with unlimited promises to take care of them on their own. But once the novelty wears off, they forget all about their dog and push the dogs ‘conveniently’ out of their lives and routine. What they don’t realise is that their pet is a living being – who has feelings, who cares and can be really heartbroken if he is thrown out of his parents’ lives and home.
Sharing and delegating the responsibilities
Ideally, before getting a dog home, parents should sit down and talk about who will take on what responsibility once the pet comes home. The kids should know that getting a pet home entails lots of responsibilities such as regular walks, feeding him on time, his protection, treating him right, playing with him and giving him ample exercise, etc.
Parents should make a list of the responsibilities that the kids are going to take care of. It’s best to give your kids the easy chores such as taking a dog out for a walk at least once a day, to begin with. They could also opt for feeding him once in a day or filling his water bowl, or playing with him in the evening, etc. Some parents just make the kids responsible for “reminding” their parents that the dog needs to be fed, taken out or just play.
But whatever it is, it’s imperative to make sure that they stick to their promises. Most parents make the mistake of taking over the kids’ promised chores without reprimanding them for it. Kids on their part, are much too happy to pass on their responsibility and in the long run, learn to take everything easy in life. They need to know that if they don’t take care of their allotted duties, no one else will.
And at all costs, sending the dog away should be ruled out. You are not only setting the worst possible example for your child, you are also teaching him to take relationships, responsibilities and attitude towards dogs most casually and callously.
Bonding kids and pups
The more time the kid spends with him, the more he will be able to understand and relate to him. In such cases, the parents need to hear carefully and acknowledge every time your child says something about his dog. Pay heed to what your child is saying, since he has come to the conclusion after having spent a lot of quality time with the pet.
Teaching good manners
Believe it or not, it is very important that your kids behave properly with pets. It is important for parents to teach them to always treat their pet with love and respect. Also, allow your kids to teach the pets some good manners, such as not picking food from the table, not tearing clothes, et al. This will make him feel like an adult and accountable for any bad behaviour of the dog. When the child teaches him to shake his paw, get up, and fold his paws and other tricks and is showered with praises for it, not only does it make him proud of his pet, but also makes him more responsible.
Play & exercise together
Teach him the catch game and make sure your kid goes out to play with the dog in the evening, even if it’s for a short time. It will prove beneficial for the health of your child and will also teach him to be responsible for your dog’s health. What’s more, let him take care of his exercise and play. If possible, make sure the kid and the dog have ample fun times together. The more they play together, the more responsible they feel towards their four-legged darlings.
Many times, kids tend to be careless with the pets because they can’t believe that the pets go through the same pain and trauma that they do, they will learn to handle their pets with more love and care than ever before. So, it’s a good idea to make sure your kid accompanies you to the vet. It will make him feel liable for his safety and health too. And there is no better way to teach kids to be better humans than to show them to love other living beings the way we are loved. Getting a pet for the right reasons and committing to his well being as a family member will turn out to be the best decision that you took for your child. It will not only teach him how to be more responsible towards his pet and to life in general, but he will also be bestowed with the most loving, loyal and adorable of all companions in the world – for whom your child – and he alone – is his whole world!!!