By Annelie Becher
Kids simply love puppies and puppies love kids. As parents you want to make sure that your kids treat the puppy right so that he can grow up into the perfect dog companion for your children.
Kids benefit greatly from a dog in the house. Depending on their age they can become involved in the care of a puppy but you as the parent need to be aware that a kid can never bear the responsibility for another being. This means that you are and always will be responsible for your dog’s wellness just as you are responsible for the wellness of your kids.
Nevertheless your kids can help look after the puppy under your supervision – an activity they will enjoy greatly.
If you delegate certain puppy – care jobs to your kids they will soon learn what the puppy needs to be happy. These jobs depend on the development of your youngsters.
• Smaller children can help Mummy and Daddy put food into a puppy’s bowl and put the bowl down in front of the puppy. They can fill up the water bowl together with an adult and learn how to groom the little dog.
• A somewhat older child can be encouraged to make sure there is always enough water in the pup’s water bowl and fill it up whenever needed.
• Kids can be involved into the training of the puppy and they are very good at teaching dogs once they know how to do it.
The more you educate your kids about the pup’s needs the better they can help care for the young dog. Understanding the fact that a puppy is not a toy nor a human being and has his own needs that have to be respected enables a kid to take the perspective of another being.
Helping you look after the puppy supports your kid’s development by learning to take responsibility in a fun and rewarding way. If you adjust the task to your kid’s abilities both your kid and your puppy will benefit greatly by growing up to be a super team.
Annelie Becher is a registered psychologist, trainer and author who specializes in helping dogs and their owners get along better.