Dogs and children make great friends.
A dog will give your child companionship, love and affection. It will also teach your child about responsibility and caring for others. But, there are several important considerations to make when contemplating giving your child a canine companion. Let's consider some of them:
(1) First and foremost is the decision as to what sort of dog will be the right companion for your child. Learn about the different temperaments of dogs. Obviously, you want one that has a good temperament and that can be readily trained. You should see the prospective dog’s mother, noting whether she is calm and placid or nervous and aggressive. Remember, too that, though the puppy may be smaller than the child when you get it, it will grow much more quickly than the child. Will your child be able to control the dog when it is fully grown. Will your dog need a lot of exercise and can your child meet this need?
(2) Your child must be able to understand that the dog is a living creature and not a toy. Therefore, the child must learn to treat the animal properly. It should not put things in the dog’s mouth, push it or pull it’s tail.
(3) Make your child aware of health issues associated with keeping a dog. Get the child to keep a calendar marked with regular vaccination dates. Discourage the child from sharing food or drink items with the dog. Help the child to train the dog to use one spot in the garden for his toileting. Don’t let your child play in this area.
(4) Encourage the child to train the dog early to get used to a collar, to walk to heel without pulling on the lead and to sit and stay on command. Get a good book or video from your local library for your child and give them encouragement to persevere in the training process. Do not, however, allow your child to take the dog for a walk without an adult present to supervise.
Your child and dog will soon develop a strong bond. This may encourage the child to readily approach other people’s dogs. You must caution your child about this, however. They should always exercise caution when approaching an unknown dog. Rather than running up to the dog they should approach with caution. Get the child to ask the owner’s permission if they want to pat a dog that is on a leash.