For most, dogs are a big part of your life the moment you get them and guess what? So are your kids! It would be great if both of them got along, but it’s hard sometimes to know when best to start blending the two together. So the question is, how can you involve your kids in dog care, while keeping it safe for them?
But before we delve into that, let’s get into why kids should help take care of your pets.
There have been incidents where kids have been bitten by their dogs be it during feeding time or just during playtime. This is due to poor foresight of adults in the family. In some cases where your dog may have resource issues or if it’s new to the family, you might want to hold off from getting your kids involved until you can place proper safety measures to keep accidents from happening.
However, if all is well, it’s essential to have your kids involved with primary pet care because it teaches them compassion and responsibility. Your kids will learn the importance of caring for another being and to meet the needs of others.
It also helps your dog and your kid form a bond. Bonus!
Dog care chores for little kids
All our little ones are different. You know your kid best regarding their capabilities in listening and following instructions, the depth of their development in motor skills. Here are some tasks to get you started, bearing in mind to adapt the difficulty to your kid’s abilities:
Water: This is an easy one! You can get your little one to start the mornings by grabbing a big cup of water first thing they do after coming downstairs to fill up the pet fountain or dog dish. Sure, there might be a couple of spills here and there, but it’ll be worth it to help them learn how to help care for the dogs.
Food: Another great chore that they could do would be helping you scoop and fill kibble into your dog’s bowl (if they eat kibble!). Of course, this is recommended to be done under supervision so you can monitor how much food is being given to keep your dog’s weight in check as well.
Grooming: To keep things as simple as possible, you could teach your kid how to brush out your dog. It’s a fantastic activity that teaches care and compassion and doesn’t involve any sharp objects such as nail clippers. Your dog may not come away fully groomed, but it’ll be a fun way for them both to get to know one another better. If your dog isn’t a fan, you could skip this one.
Training: Your little one won’t be able to teach your dog obedience or complicated tricks, but you could include them in the training process. For example, you could teach your kid to carry out simple commands such as telling your dog to sit, roll over or when to go to bed. You’d be surprised; little ones can be quite stern when given some form of responsibility! The best part is your kid gets to give your dog a treat as a reward and encourages a significant relationship between your kid and your pet.
Besides that, little kids are always up to help with anything. So, ask them to hold the pickup bags or clip a second leash to the harness so they can “walk” the dog with you and this will help them feel important and encourage them to continue being involved with learning to care for your dog.
Dog care chores for big kids
Your bigger kids are only limited by what’s expected of them. If you teach them and lead by example, they will quickly follow suit and do what you empower them to do.
Examples of pet care chores for big kids:
- Feeding and watering.
- Scooping and cleaning the litter box.
- Picking up the toys and keeping things tidy.
- Dog grooming
- Training with you and your dog, this includes taking training classes together.
- Daily playtime.
If you feel that your kid has had enough years under their belt with your dog and can predict how its behaviour will be, they can even help with bringing your dog to their visits to the vet.
Some things to note…
If you notice, both lists do not include walking the dog. It isn’t because your kids are inadequate to walk them, well, maybe your little one may not be yet, but this may be something you need to decide based on how well you know both your dog and your kid. There are too many potential safety issues that may arise depending on your neighbourhood and how your dog might react during a walk.
“Walking and hiking with the dog is a great activity to do as a family”
Your dog might react badly to a cat passing by or your kid could be preoccupied with their phones whilst walking around the block. Either way, both would not result in a positive outcome. That being said, walking and hiking with the dog is a great activity to do as a family and shows excellent examples of responsibility.
You need to decide what tasks you want your kids to be involved in, and you need to teach them how to do them. They’ll learn fast and be able to take on more family responsibilities and make more contributions to being part of your dog’s care!
When it comes to training, a quality, well-calibrated dog training e-collar is an excellent and safe tool that may help ensure connecting with your dog with your children remains a safe and beneficial relationship. Dog Gear offers trusted electronic dog training collars, utilising warning tones to prompt your pup safely. With free Australian shipping and same-day dispatch, our products will be with you fast. Follow us on Facebook for the latest advice, updates and dog training tips!