So, after weeks and months of listening to your children beg you for a dog, you’ve finally decided to cave and give it a chance. But before bringing that new bundle of fur home, you might want to give your little ones some time to prepare for the responsibilities of dog ownership. After all, your children have probably been fixed on the fun aspects of having a dog – playtime, going for walks and big wet kisses – instead of the hard work that goes along with caring for a living animal.
So what can you do to prepare your kids for being trustworthy and dedicated pet parents? You might want to run a little training program of your own to make sure they won’t push all the responsibility on you and your partner after the first few days. Here are a few tips and tricks to turn your children into dog owners extraordinaire.
Ask to pet sit
While your kids have probably spent time playing with friends’ or neighbors’ dogs on occasion, you’ll want to expose them to the more difficult parts of owning a pet. In order to give them some first hand experience before getting a dog of your own, consider asking to pet sit someone else’s pet for the weekend. This will allow your children to practice things like going for walks, sticking with a feeding schedule, giving baths and cleaning up messes.
Establish a pet chore chart
No, this isn’t a way to get your new dog to help out around the house. Setting up a pet chore chart will help you exercise some influence over your children’s dog-related responsibilities without constantly needing to pester them. Every day, your kids will know who is supposed to be doing what to take care of the family dog. You can also rotate responsibilities from week to week so that nobody feels like they’re getting the short end of the chore stick.
Sign up for dog training classes
Looking after your dog is one thing, but if you really want to enjoy a well-behaved and mellow pet, you’re probably going to need dog training classes. Under the guidance of a trained instructor, you and your children will learn how to house-train your dog and use a number of obedience commands, like sit, stay, heel, lie down and stop barking. These will come in handy in the days ahead, because puppies can often seem like uncontrollable bundles of energy.