The only person who knows what’s right for your family is you, and we can tell you that dogs can be wonderful additions to that family! Besides the snuggles and company that come with dogs, they also teach a novel set of life lessons that will stick with your kid forever.
1. Dogs encourage responsibility
Most of the time, depending on your kid’s age, much of the responsibility of taking care of a dog will be on your shoulders. However, even your child can take part in simple tasks such as brushing the dog, taking it for walks, and cleaning food bowls.The best way to remember is that kids learn by watching what their parents do much more than listening to what they say, so let them see you treat your dog like an appreciated member of the family.
2. Love knows no age
Puppies are incredible and delightful, but they are much like kids themselves, they require regular feedings and potty breaks and a lot of attention. If you have the support system to help you through this stage, it can be a wonderful thing to watch a dog grow up with your child. If the puppy stage isn’t your thing, adopting an older dog, preferably from a dog shelter, is recommended.
3. Dogs teach compassion
A dog is an excellent way to teach this empathy for others! Involving your kid in caring for the family dog helps them learn how to respect the needs of others. Babies are born learning few new things by the day.
4. Respect is learned and earned
One thing you’ll teach your child from day one is to respect a dog’s space. While it is up to the parent to maintain vigilant supervision of any child/dog interactions, it’s still important to teach your child basic body language of dogs. While every dog is different, there are few signs to watch for that mean a dog needs space. A dog who is growling, barking aggressively, or otherwise displaying “aggression” means they do NOT want to be messed with, and it’s definitely not something to take personally.
Another behavior a child must be taught is that a dog who is constantly moving away does not want to be chased; rather, it wants to be by itself. Much like when you or we have a bad day and just want some space, the dog is communicating that it does not want to be messed with and is quietly removing itself from the situation.
5. Dogs are friends
A dog can be a priceless friend to your child. A dog’s presence is warm and compassionate, and a child can speak all of his frustrations and secrets into a listening ear that isn’t subject to judgment or gossip. Dogs can also be very useful when dealing with kids who have learning or confidence issues.