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As any parent will tell you, a child can benefit a great deal from sharing their life with the family dog. Depending on their age, they can be involved in training their pet – teaching him commands and also how to go to the toilet outside. However, a dog can also teach them life skills including responsibility and how to care for another living thing.
Your family dog is totally dependent on you to meet all his needs. He will teach your child responsibility as they can take on the role of feeding him, grooming him and cleaning up after him. They can also bathe him and brush him to keep him free of tangles. This will allow your child to grow up understanding that there are some things they just have to do, even if they are tired.
A dog can teach your child to understand how another person or animal might be feeling. They can learn that if they forget to put food in his bowl, then the dog will feel hungry, just as they would if their lunch was late. They can appreciate that pulling the dog’s fur will hurt just as pulling their own hair does.
Studies have shown that children who live with a dog are more active than those without a pet. This increased activity can not only help to prevent childhood obesity, but it gives your child something fun to do that doesn’t involve a computer screen.
Be a Trusted Listener
Your dog can become your child’s best friend, one that they can tell anything and not have to worry about being judged or having their secret shared. Even when times are tough, their dog still loves them and is always available for a hug. Your child also has a full time resident playmate that is always ready for a game of ball or fetch in the back yard.
Be a Protector
Children often have periods when they are growing up, when they become scared of things, both real and imagined. Even if you don’t have concerns about intruders or other genuine threats, a dog can make your child feel safe and secure from the monsters under their bed.
Keep them Healthy
There has been some recent research that children that grow up with pets are healthier and have a stronger immune system than those that don’t have an animal companion. This in itself is an excellent reason to have a four legged family member living in your home.
Keep these points in mind when you are thinking about getting a family dog. Include your child in all aspects of dog care, at an age appropriate level. By doing so, you are helping them to grow up into a happy, healthy and well-adjusted adult
Susan Wright DMV is a dog expert and a vet. Susan writes articles featuring tips to create lasting memories with your dogs