10 Things to Teach Your Kids Before Getting a Dog

Little girl whispering something to her pet while relaxing on sofa on background of young couple. dog

The decision to get a dog can be exciting, but it’s not one to be taken lightly by any means.

For kids especially, getting a dog could turn out to be too much responsibility.

And even lead to the deterioration of their relationship with their parents, and vice versa.

To avoid this and other problems, here are 10 things you should teach your kids before they get a dog of their own.


1) Dogs Aren’t Toys

They’re living, breathing, feeling creatures that you share your life with.

But before bringing Fido home, you want to make sure your kids understand what it means for him to be part of your family.

You might think that sharing responsibility for feeding, walking, and grooming is enough.

But you also want them to know how great it feels when Fido wags his tail when he sees them.

Or how nice it is when he brings them a stick from across the yard. Dogs are more than pets; they are members of our families.

And as such, we need to treat them as such.


2) Choose The Right Breed

Whether your family is considering a new pup or you’re just planning ahead, it’s important to pick a breed that fits with your family.

If you have kids, you don’t want to pick an overly energetic breed that might not be good for children.

On top of that, consider your living space; if it’s tight on space, look into smaller breeds like Chihuahuas or French Bulldogs.

Bigger breeds like Golden Retrievers are perfect for big homes and families.

Whatever you choose, make sure to teach your kids how to properly care for their pets so they can grow up together in harmony.


3) Know The Risks of Breeding

No matter how carefully you screen your future dog-sitter.

It’s important that your kids are fully aware of what happens when two dogs of different breeds get together and have puppies.

If your kids aren’t responsible enough for an animal.

Teach them about all aspects of pet ownership so they can make an informed decision on whether or not to own one later in life.

In many cases, it’s best to wait until children are older before getting a dog.

After all, many adults don’t know everything there is to know about owning pets either!

And if you don’t want your family pet getting knocked up by someone else’s male pooch? Make sure both parents are spayed or neutered.

This will keep everyone safe and happy—and prevent unwanted litters from being born into shelters.


4) How Dogs See the World?

Believe it or not, dogs see colors and have depth perception.

They just don’t see them as vividly as we do; for example, their red-green color discrimination is much worse than ours.

Like us, they see in grayscale with many colors on a spectrum from dark gray to white.

They just can’t differentiate between those shades as we can.

And while some breeds (like German shepherds) have better vision than others, all dogs are nearsighted.

If you want your dog to recognize you across a crowded room, he needs to be able to pick out your face from several feet away.

Dogs also have fewer rods (which detect light) and more cones (which detect color) in their retinas than humans do.

This means they perceive less detail but are able to see in dimmer light conditions.


5) Letting Them Outdoors Alone

One of the best ways for kids to learn how dogs think is by spending time around dogs.

This means being able to let them outside alone—to roam your property and play in your backyard.

While you’re certainly not going to want to let them go off on their own.

It’s important that they know what it feels like when they’re out of sight.

So they can be more responsible in their caretaking of an actual dog later.

If you have a fenced-in yard, make sure they stay within its boundaries.

If not, make sure they understand that if they leave your view.

There are no guarantees about where or how far away from home they may end up.

Talk with them about safe places to play (away from busy streets) and things to look out for (like strangers).

Then allow them some freedom within reason—and watch as their confidence grows.


6) Spend Time With Them

When you bring home a new puppy, kids and dogs need time to learn about each other.

Giving your children and your dog some time together before bringing them home is crucial.

If possible, have your child spend an afternoon with his or her friends at a friend’s house who has a dog.

This will help him or her get used to being around dogs without feeling like he or she needs to be responsible for another living creature.

Even if your kid doesn’t play with that particular dog.

Just having exposure to one can go a long way in helping your child feel more comfortable when it comes time for him or her to take on more responsibility for their own pet.

Also, remember that young children should never be left alone with pets—you don’t want either of them getting hurt!


7) Spay and Neuter

One of the most important things you can do for your pet is spay or neuter it.

Pets left intact are twice as likely to develop cancer and seven times more likely to be involved in dangerous accidents as compared with sterilized pets.

Spaying and neutering also help animals avoid reproductive cancers, such as ovarian and uterine tumors.

Which account for 10 percent of all feline malignancies.

And since female dogs that aren’t spayed often have false pregnancies (sometimes every six months). They can suffer from life-threatening infections.

Neutered male dogs don’t experience false pregnancies.

But they may still try to escape or run away when they smell a female dog in heat.

And if they get hit by a car while chasing her scent, their owners will still have to pay for emergency surgery.


8) Dog Training Techniques

Before bringing home that new puppy, make sure your kids are prepared with essential dog training skills.

The last thing you want is for your dog to injure one of your children due to lack of training.

Familiarize them with how they should talk and handle their pup.

After all, it’s going to be their responsibility when you’re not around!


9) Biting and Aggression

As cute as your dog is, biting and aggression are still major problems.

According to recent statistics, roughly 36 million people per year are bitten by dogs. But that doesn’t have to be you or your child.

Make sure your kid knows how to stay safe around dogs by teaching them these skills before you bring home an adorable new puppy.

In addition to learning about what not to do around dogs.

It’s also important for kids to learn how to interact with them properly so they can grow up with a healthy respect for all animals.

So make sure they know how big of a bite different breeds of dogs have and what they should do if they get bit.


10)  Positive Reinforcement

Giving dogs positive reinforcement can make them more likely to perform behaviors they like.

Rather than simply disciplining your dog for bad behavior, try reinforcing good behavior.

If your dog is doing something you want, whether it’s staying off of furniture or coming when called, reward him with treats and attention.

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