I firmly believe that dogs and children are a wonderful combination. A pet dog teaches your kids to love animals, care for them and lose their fear of dogs. They learn compassion and responsibility. And also grow up with a companion who showers them with unconditional love.
However, if you do decide to bring a puppy home, there are things you need to consider. The puppy is NOT a toy for your children to play with. Set down rules for the kids.
• Your child must respect the pup and handle him with care. He can’t be dragging him around, pulling his tail, sitting on him or manhandling him in anyway.
• Do not allow your child to train the pup. Which means no handling of the puppy on a leash. That is only for adults or till your child learns how to handle the dog. But remember, if you get a large breed, your dog, as he grows, will become stronger and can pull your child when he is on the leash. Your kid could end up falling and hurting himself/herself.
• Kids should NEVER be allowed to kick or beat the dog.
• Puppies sleep a lot, just like babies. Discourage your kids from waking them up to play.
• Kids will want to carry the puppy. Discourage them from doing so. If they drop the puppy, he could end up with a fracture. Ideally, get your kid to sit on the floor; you can place the puppy in your child’s lap so the child can cuddle and pet the pup.
• Children should be discouraged from taking puppies or grown dogs for walks.
• And last but not the least, till you are comfortable about your child and your pup’s relationship, don’t leave them alone together.
I attribute my enduring love for dogs to the fact that they’ve been part of my life since I was two. And I can vouch for one thing – dogs have made my life infinitely richer. Wouldn’t you want to enrich your child’s life?