They will beg, and they will plead. They will promise to forever take care of the dog that you get them – and you will believe them. After the novelty of a new pet wears off, however, it often becomes difficult to get kids to keep their end of the bargain and take care of the dog they earlier on begged for. If you don’t take the appropriate actions, you might end up having to do all the caring for a dog you needed convincing to get in the first place.
How Do You Keep Your Kids Interested In Caring For Their Dog?
If you’ve found yourself in such a predicament, don’t lose heart. There’re a couple of things you can do to ensure your kids keep their promise and actually care for their pet.
- Make caring for the dog fun.Don’t let your children get stuck with only the boring dog chores. Depending on how old they are, encourage them to help out with chores that they consider to be more fun like exercising, walking, brushing, washing or training the dog. Having them participate in fun activities allows them to learn responsibility while enabling them to enjoy the best parts of pet ownership.If they get stuck with only the boring chores, you can be sure that your kids will soon lose interest in the dog. Remember to accompany your child of under 10 years when they’re walking the dog.
- Lead by example.Your children often model your behaviour in most situations, including how they care for their pet. As such, one of the ways you can keep your kids interested in caring for their pet is by practising good pet care yourself.This does not mean that you do everything yourself – that would beat the point. You will need, however, to demonstrate through actions what regular and responsible dog ownership entails so that your kids can follow your lead.
- Discuss the chores your children can handle.Discuss with your children about the responsibilities of pet care that they feel they would be able to handle. This will ensure that you don’t task them with something that they can’t handle. Also, your kids will feel more empowered and capable of taking care of the dog when they complete a simple chore on a regular basis than doing a difficult chore once in a while.Children under 5 years can assist with tiny aspects of dog care under supervision. For kids between 6-10 years, more complex tasks can be assigned such as cleaning up after the pooch and grooming. Kids over 10 years can pretty much handle all aspects of dog care on their own with a bit of guidance.
- Ensure positivity in pet care.Pet-related chores should never be associated with punishment. This is a definite way of turning your kids off caring for their pooch. If you assign your child additional dog chores as a form of punishment, they will eventually get frustrated and develop feelings of resentment towards the pet.Encourage your child to complete their dog-related tasks by praising them each time they finish a chore. Let your kid know how much you appreciate it whenever they help out with the dog. This positive reinforcement will encourage them to keep up with their responsibilities. You can reduce the amount of praise as they get older, but be sure to congratulate and thank them periodically for doing dog-related chores.
- Give incentives.If you notice your children losing interest in taking care of their dog, you can encourage participation by providing incentives. This could be particularly effective for older kids and teenagers. You might want to consider offering monetary incentives or rewarding a dog chore that is less fun with another dog-related activity that is more fun.You can, for example, make a list of the different dog-related chores and give rewards whenever your kid completes a task. Or you could reward the child who finishes the most tasks after a week.
Keeping your children interested in caring for their dog after they’ve had him for a while can be a bit of a challenge. But by: making dog-related chores fun, leading by example, not overburdening the kids, keeping dog care positive, and offering incentives; you can ensure that your kids continue to take good care of their pooch long after they get over the novelty of pet ownership.