Five Ways To Know Your Child Is Ready For A Puppy

If you have been contemplating about adding a dog to part of your family for your child; you have probably thought about all the wonderful things a puppy can provide for your family. Teachings of unconditional love, empathy and responsibility as well as plenty of laughter, fun and exercise! While we know all the wonderful benefits that come with dogs, you need to make sure your child understands all the requirements that a puppy will require from him or her as well, especially once the newness of a puppy wears off. A dog needs to be fed, bathed, exercised and most importantly loved. Dogs are an active part of the family and require time and attention to be cared for properly. So the question is, is your child ready for a puppy? Here are our top five ways to know that your child is

1. Understands How to Properly Handle Strange Dogs
If you child understands that he or she cannot just run up to strange dogs and play with them immediately, this is a good sign that your child knows how to properly handle dogs with strangers. Understanding that the child must have permission from the owner before approaching the dog, and allowing the dog to become comfortable with him or her by letting the dog sniff a hand first is a great sign, that your child understand the gravity of proper introductions and would insist others do the same if he or she were allowed to own a dog.
2. Has Helped Care for Neighborhood Pets
Has your child practiced taking care of a dog, or another animal, by watching a neighbor’s pet while on vacation? If your child has been responsible to be there on time for feedings, play time and daily walks without you having to remind him or her and without you having to do it, this is a good sign that your child understands the care involved with owning a dog and is up for the task.
3. Wants a Dog Badly & Willing to Take Care of It
Has your child asked for a dog? If not, then maybe you should reconsider; however if your child has been begging for a four-legged companion for some time, it’s safe to say the desire is there. If your child is trying to win you over by offering to help pay for the dog; saving for the adoption fee and offering to help buy toys and treats; you know that dog ownership is important to your kid!
4. Is Responsible Around the House
Does your child currently have chores around the house? If so, how responsible is your child for completing the chores? Does he or she do them without reminders and are the chores done properly? Chores around the house are a great indicator as to how well your child will do in taking on the tasks of taking care of a dog. Dogs require a lot of time and attention, they need to be fed, given fresh water daily, groomed, walked, picked up after and played with. This adds up to a lot of responsibility, because when these tasks are not done, the dog, a living being will suffer.
5. Has Time to Take Care of a Dog
Understanding that it takes a lot of time to properly take care of a dog; how much time does your child have in his or her schedule? If your child is younger now, what will happen when your child becomes involved in more activities? Will the child still be willing to take care of the dog, and if not, are you? Dogs are a commitment for around 16-20 years, depending on the age and breed of your dog when you adopt it. So it the time is there and your child is willing to commit that length of time to helping care for the dog, then this is another sure-tell sign that your child is ready for a dog.
Susan Wright DMV is a dog expert and a vet. Susan writes articles featuring a dogs role in relationships – you can read more of her work on Wilson Writes