Many parents have fond memories of growing up with childhood pets and rightly want to pass these experiences on to their children. Getting a dog for your child can provide them with a companion for the entirety of their formative years as well as teaching them important skills of responsibility and care. Yet bringing a dog into your home can also be a challenge for your child so it’s important you make the right choice. Here’s how to choose the perfect first dog for your kid.
Have the conversation
When you’re introducing a dog to your family for the first time, it’s important to start things out with a conversation with your kids. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, and before you thrust this responsibility on your family you need to make sure everyone understands their role and duties.
Whilst no child should have sole responsibility for an animal, sharing the task of caring for a pet can contribute to a child’s development. Try asking questions of your kids – such as “do you think you can help me to fill the water bowl each morning?” If your children are a little older, giving them ownership of the big tasks such as walking the dog each day can help them build a strong relationship with the pet that will be a lifetime bond.
Choosing a breed
Dogs are as diverse as humans are in their personality, characteristics and temperament and it’s important you choose a breed which will get on well with your children, as well as fitting into your lifestyle. If your children are bursting with energy then a breed such as Jack Russel or Collie might be the perfect match. On the other hand, shy and reserved children may do better around quieter, loving dogs such as greyhounds.
Purebred dogs have the most consistent and predictable temperaments so if you’re concerned about finding the right fit, choosing a purebred can give you some certainty. Mixed breed dogs are a little more unpredictable in their traits, but can give you a wider range to choose from when you’re looking for the perfect pet.
“In order to guarantee the perfect fit between your children and their first dog, it’s important to think about the lifestyle that your kids already lead,” says Rachel Summers, a lifestyle writer at My Writing Way and Dissertation Writers. “Some dogs have boundless energy which can be fun at first but gets draining for kids that aren’t used to tons of activity.”
If your children are homebodies and spend a lot of time on the couch, then a mellow breed that thrive indoors could be the way to go. However, if your children are the sort that only come home for dinner then an active dog could become their best friend.
When you’re making the decision about your first dog, people often focus on how much attention and exercise a dog needs. These are proper concerns, but sometimes folks overlook another crucial component – grooming. Different breeds of dogs require dramatically different degrees of attention grooming, so don’t get caught out by a shaggy dog.
For busy families, dogs with short coats are often a better choice. Long-haired dogs require more grooming and more care, which can become exhausting after another long wet walk!
“When you’re picking a new dog for your child, remembering the long term costs of care is important,” says Tori Hampstead, a journalist at BoomEssays and Academized. “You can ask your kid to pitch in with walking, grooming and feeding, but the cost of looking after your new family pet is always going to land on the parents’ head.”
Dog food can be an expensive addition to the family budget and large dogs can often consume more food than your eldest child! Healthcare costs are also a concern, so shop around for pet insurance before you commit to a breed.
Don’t go barking up the wrong tree. Picking the right first dog for your child can introduce your household to a new member of the family. Follow our tips and you’ll find the perfect dog for your child.
About the Author
Lauren Groff is a tutor at Writing Populist. She is also a contributing writer at Write My Essay. Lauren lives in Estes Park, Colorado with her three children – they have two greyhounds cherished by the family. Also, she is an editor at Student Writing Services.