girl with dogMost kids, at some point during their childhood, will ask for a dog. If you love dogs and have been waiting to get one, prepare your children thoroughly before you do. Teach your children about the different responsibilities they’ll have once you adopt a dog, and talk to them about some of the basics of respecting, teaching, and training dogs. This will help your family stay on the same page when you bring home your new pet!

First, teach your children how to respect dogs. When your child approaches a dog, whether you know the dog or not, teach your child to approach the dog slowly and in a calm manner, holding out a hand for the dog to sniff. If the dog licks your child’s hand, wags his tail, or rolls onto his back for a belly rub, then he’s in the mood for interaction. If he whines, growls, or barks, he may need some space.

If you have a friend or neighbor with a kid-friendly dog, offer to dog sit the next time they go on vacation. Ask if you can bring your children along, and think about which tasks the kids might be able to complete on their own or with your help. Allowing them to fill the dog’s water dish or hold the leash when you take him for a walk will help them to understand some of the basic responsibilities that go into pet ownership.

Once you’ve decided to go for it and and adopt a dog, create a schedule that everyone in the family will use in order to take proper care of the dog. Younger children can pour dry food, spoon out wet food, or fill water dishes. Older children can take the dog for walks.  Kids can also help with brushing, bathing, and training your dog, too! Get everyone on the same page in terms of commands you’ll be using when training your puppy.

If you adopted a dog for the family after your kids were born, how did you introduce the idea of getting a dog? Let us know how you helped your kids understand their responsibilities in the comments section.