It’s the war cry of every single child in a large household – “Can we have a dog?” Often, it doesn’t come with manners and it usually comes with a lot of begging and jumping up and down. Parents everywhere sometimes give in and sometimes don’t, but if you’re on the edge of giving in and getting that family pet, it’s time for some reflection and research before you do it!
Kids can be exceptionally persistent when it comes to getting a pet. In some cases, it’s the adults in the family who are insistent on getting the dream dog. The thing is, a pet isn’t like a stuffed animal that you buy because it’s cute and then set up on the shelf. You leave the stuffed animal there; you don’t have to feed and walk it, love it and train it.
Pets are not easy. It’s a simple thing to know before you do anything, but it may really surprise you just how difficult a pet in the house can be, especially if you’re not used to having one. It can take some time to figure out whether your family is really ready for a pet. If you’re still asking questions and wondering are invisible dog fences safe, then it’s clear to see that you are still learning about what’s going to work for your family. So, with that in mind, let’s look at four things that you really have to know before you say yes to a new pet for the family to love.
Research, and then research some more.
If anyone in the house is on the fence about having a pet around, the very first thing to say is no – you are not ready for a pet. Whether you are looking into a reptile, a cat or a dog, you need to make sure that every single member of the family is comfortable with the idea. You wouldn’t bring a clown into the house if someone had a fear of clowns, so the same should be said for a dog or another animal. Your kids (and other adults in the house) will be very vocal about the animals that they will feel comfortable with. Listen to them when they talk, and then start researching the pet you want. It’s not just about the breed, but the way their fur sheds and whether they have a “season” and become broody. Whichever animal you want to introduce into the house, do some serious research on that animal, their breeds, and how much care they need. Cats, for example, still need a lot of care, but they won’t need to be walked two to three times a day as a dog will. See, research!
Which pet do you want for the family? Most parents go small for the first one to see how their children respond to an animal being in the house. Some parents go immediately for a puppy because it will then grow up with their children as a member of the family. If you don’t want a long-term commitment at first, then choose a pet like a guinea pig or a fish. This will give the family a taste of what it’s like to have a pet without a lifetime commitment to consider.
As well as introducing a new pet to the family, you are also introducing new jobs and responsibilities to the children, too. They will learn how to groom a pet, how to feed them, and what to feed them, too. It’s a teachable moment for the children to learn to take responsibility and care for something other than themselves. Over time, they’ll be able to be trusted with the bigger jobs, such as walking the dog or cleaning out the rabbit hutch.
Remember, it’s not a novelty toy.
Children get excited over the new thing in the house, whether that’s a games console or a teddy bear. You don’t want your new family pet to be relegated to the same treatment, and it’s so important that you impress upon them that this pet is more than just a new thing in the home. This is a new pet – a life – and it needs to be cared for as much as possible. Setting a good example for your children is vital, so take responsibility for the pet in the way that you want your children to, and they will follow your example.
A new pet could change your whole family dynamic, so make sure that your family is ready for this!