The Basic Responsibilities of Puppy Ownership
If you want to get a puppy for your family, you need to understand the responsibility that comes with having a puppy in your house. If your child is not old enough or mature enough to handle the responsibility, you will have to take over the workload until the dog grows. Your puppy will need to be fed up to three times a day, especially during his early years. Your puppy will also need to go outside about once an hour until he is house broken. Even if you plan to train your dog with potty pads, you will have to clean them regularly until your dog gets older.
In addition to food, water, and basic bathroom procedures, your dog will need to be played with consistently or left in the backyard to play while you are away. If you do not let your puppy release his energy, you will end up with a ton of destruction to take care of in your home.
Is Your Child Mature Enough to Have a Puppy?
Children mature in different ways. No two kids are the same. Thus it is impossible to set an age for dog ownership because your child may be ready much sooner than someone else's child. The key here is to understand how mature your child is and how well he or she handles basic responsibilities around the house. Does your child do his or her chores without being asked? Does your child take care of his or her siblings? Does your child take good care of his personal belongings, like toys and clothing? If so, he or she may be ready for a pet.
Assign Puppy Responsibilities to Your Child
Your child may not be able to handle all of the responsibilities of pet ownership on his own, but that does not mean you cannot get a puppy for your household. You simply have to find a balance between what you do for the puppy and what your child does. Feeding and watering your dog are some of the easiest tasks to delegate to children, but you should also have them do some of the not-so-fun tasks, like cleaning up poop in the backyard. This will teach your children that having a furry friend in the house comes at a price, much like other rewards they may get in life.
Train the Puppy Yourself
When it comes to training, it is best for an adult to take care of that role. Your children should understand the commands that you teach your puppy, but they should not be the ones to instill them. Your dog is going to respect you, the adult, more as an authority figure, so he will be more likely to obey your commands. Once you get that under control, your kids will be able to interact with their pet in a whole new way.
So, Is Your Child Ready for a Puppy?
Only you can answer this question. Think about the maturity your child shows in other elements of life, and make sure he or she is capable of taking care of another life. If you do not have the time, money, or energy to raise a dog, you may want to wait until your child is old enough to handle this task in full. Assess your situation carefully, and you will find the perfect time to welcome a puppy to your life.