Getting A Dog : Putting the “Family” in the Family Dog
The family dog is something that has been around since the advent of the family itself. Every family needs a four-legged member to share in the ups and downs of family life. Often, children are the driving force behind a family adopting a dog and bringing him into their life.
This is excellent, as children gain a great sense of responsibility by owning a pet, but usually turns into a mom’s dog or dad’s dog instead of the family’s dog. If you find yourself in this situation of caring for a dog that should be the responsibility of the entire family, you may need to take some necessary steps to put the “Family” back into the family dog.
When your family makes the decision to adopt a dog, have a serious discussion with all members of the family. Quite often, teenagers and adults are worse than children in regards to caring for a dog, so your discussion should focus on each family member so that everyone knows exactly what their role will be. Furthermore, you may want to divide up the dog-related chores in relation to the age and capability of each member of the family.
Family Dogs With Childs
For young children, put them in charge of the dog’s food and water dishes and any other feeding responsibility. This may include keeping the dishes full, feeding the dog at a certain time each day, and keeping the eating area clean from food or water spills. For older children, teenagers, and adults, create a walking schedule so that everyone has the chance to participate in walking or playing with the dog. Quite often, a dog becomes a discarded toy when children lose interest in playing with the pup.
Designate each family member a special time each day to spend with the dog. For example, when Junior gets home from school, instruct him to take Fido on a walk around the neighborhood. This daily occurrence will not only accomplish the necessary task of allowing the dog to relieve himself, but it will also provide a time for your child to bond with the dog and learn necessary responsibilities. Do not allow anyone in your family to continually disregard their duties when it comes to the dog, which is a quick way for the role of the family dog to lie squarely on one particular person in the family—often the parent.
Caring Of family Dogs
If you are unsure your family is ready to own a dog, consider asking a friend, neighbor, or family member with a dog to borrow their pooch for a weekend or longer period of time. This will work out great if the dog’s family is going out of town and looking for pet sitters. When the dog is in your household, instruct everyone what their duty will be in the event the family does decide to adopt a dog.
Watch how your children interact with the dog and how they handle their responsibilities. If your child constantly aggravates or annoys the dog, you may want to wait until your child becomes older or more mature to adopt a family dog. However, if the family works well with the dog and everyone successfully handles his or her responsibilities, you may want to look into getting a dog for your family.
When it comes time to get a family dog, be sure to include everyone in the family. Take time as a family to research which breed of dog will work the best in your household or make the decision to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue operation. By incorporating everyone’s opinions, you will ensure the entire family is ready to experience the joys of dog ownership.