Recent research suggests that over a quarter of households with children also have a pet dog, and that was before the great pandemic puppy boom. With children and canines living together domestically, it is imperative to ensure a strong bond forms between child and dog in order to maintain a harmonious home, as well as preventing any problems that could potentially arise. In addition, growing up alongside a faithful pooch can aid a child in numerous ways, from helping them develop crucial social skills to providing health benefits.
Here we consider four ways to help your child get more involved with the raising of a pet dog.
Dogs and kids both need plenty of exercise every day, and ensuring that they burn all of their seemingly boundless energy can be one of the greatest challenges for parents and dog-owners alike! So why not kill two birds with one stone? Taking your child and dog to the park can be a wonderful activity to share together; teach your dog to play fetch with a ball or stick and then get your child involved (by throwing the stick, not fetching it!)
Kids and dogs can also play together at home with chew toys and ropes, keeping both stimulated. Just remember to always supervise younger children.
Letting your child fill the dog bowl with food at dinner time has two key benefits. First, it can teach your child responsibility and time management skills. And second, it can help the dog see the child as a “hand that feeds,” increasing respect levels. The same effect can also be had with having your child feed your dog treats. Just be sure to teach your child not to take food away from the dog bowl!
Every dog needs a training routine, particularly in its early years. Getting your child involved can help their relationship with the dog for the rest of its life. Perform your chosen command and reinforce with treat or clicker (whichever method you prefer). Remember: repetition is key. When your dog is in the swing of things and has performed the command correctly a few times, let your child instruct the dog in the same fashion. Having your dog regularly respond to your child and obey their commands will help the bond they share thrive as the years go by.
Having a dog provides plenty of inspiration to get your child’s creative juices flowing. Encouraging your child to draw or paint pictures of their four-legged friend, or even write stories or poems about them, can help your child develop key literary and artistic skills while simultaneously strengthening the bond between them and their dog.
Another good idea is a bespoke personalized dog book featuring the two of them; some even allow you to choose the breed and color of your dog to ensure the illustrations are ultra familiar and realistic to your child! Numerous studies emphasize the importance of getting your child reading and the positive impact it can have on their earning potential in later life, and what better way to get them interested than with a book all about them and their faithful dog. Furthermore, research suggests that having your child read a book directly to their dog can ease anxiety and boost confidence.