This time of year, every parent is likely to hear from their kids: “Can I have a puppy?”. It never fails this time of year when parents are wondering if a puppy makes a great gift, but in reality, is the family ready for a new member?
First, you really should consider the family dynamic and who is going to mostly care for and train the puppy (most likely it will be you….). As well, rather than dodge the question, parents should consider whether their family is ready for a pet, says Sharon Bergen, senior vice president of education and training for Knowledge Learning Corporation, the nation’s leading provider of early childhood care and education.
She suggests that parents weigh the pros and cons of adding a pet to the household before agreeing to bringing a dog into the home. “A pet can teach children responsibility and become a wonderful addition to a family-or it can be a burden,”.
Who will care for the puppy?
Families should agree beforehand who will be responsible for feeding, walking, bathing and cleaning up after the pet. It does help children to learn responsibility and how to care for animals when given the task of caring for a new pet.
Do you have space for and time for a puppy?
Families living in apartments or townhouses may not be able to handle a dog, dependent on size. While some families prefer a cat, a bird or fish, a dog is a large responsibility in such a small space. Owning a pet is time consuming and may be expensive. Family members should realize that they may have to give up other activities to properly care for a pet. If the prospect seems too daunting, parents may suggest waiting until the child is old enough to help care for the dog.
It’s a good idea to get to know the breed of dog that fits with your family, home and lifestyle.
We feel that when your children are old enough to help out feeding and taking care of a pet, the family discuss who will do what and who will be in charge/take turns caring for the dog. It’s also a good idea to visit a shelter to adopt rather than a breeder. Bringing a dog into the family is a long-term commitment, so think carefully before adopting a furry new family member.