It seems every other kid has a puppy on his Christmas list at some time in their lives.
It’s the giving time of year and parents are close to giving into their child’s desires. They’ve been good this year, right? Don’t they deserve a little doggie to call their own?
Before you go out to the shelter, take a moment to make sure this would be the best idea for your child, the pooch, and your entire family.
Are They Old Enough?
If they’re truly wanting a dog — their own dog — you have to consider if your child is actually old enough to take care of another living creature. That’s not to say you won’t be there to help and give advice to him, but you can’t be the main caregiver of the pup.
Here are few things your child should be able — and willing —to do:
- Feed him and make sure they have clean, fresh water
- Housebreak them
- Brush and bathe them
- Pick up after them
- Walk them
- Play with them
- Train them
- Get up early to let them out in the morning
Sit down and have a discussion with them about these points. You know your child: Will he really do all he says he’ll do? If you don’t want the responsibility yourself, this is important. If you have doubt, it’s better to skip it this year. Maybe he’ll be more ready next Christmas.
Puppy or Older Dog?
A puppy comes with a whole other set of duties. Housebreaking anyone? Chewed up shoes? Whining all night? Puppies are adorable animals but they are almost as much work as a baby. It would require more of a family effort in getting him trained and properly adjusted.
There are many dogs in shelters who are already past this rambunctious and destructive stage. They’re ready for a forever home. Someone that will care for them now until the end. If you’re not up to all the challenges a puppy would cause, look at pups that are a little older. They would love you for it!
Be mindful though. There are also senior dogs who desperately need a home. However, a home with young, crazy kids might not be the best place for a dog who needs something a little quieter. That wouldn’t be the best situation for anyone.
Think 15 Years
True, all dogs don’t live until they’re the ripe old of 15 years. However, that’s what you should be expecting. If you get a younger dog, plan on him being around for most of your kid’s childhood. They’re going to grow up together. Sweet thought!
Will the Novelty Wear Off?
Kids can get so worked up at the thought of having a dog that the reality can sometimes be harsh. Puppies aren’t so cute when they have to be let out at 2 in the morning. That’s why it’s important that this is a family decision overall.
The new furry addition to your family will be just that — a part of your family. You don’t want ‘buyer’s remorse’ after a month of adopting him. That wouldn’t be fair to anyone, especially the pup.
Buying a dog is a huge decision and one that shouldn’t be made in haste. Take your time and make sure it’s in everyone’s best interest to bring home a new fur kid. It can be the best — or worst — decision you make.