Most children love pets , especially cats and dogs. The problem is that after a first phase of emotion, children can end up getting tired of it and lose responsibility for its care . Many times, it can lead to the abandonment of the pet.
Moreover , during 2015 104,501 dogs and 33,330 cats were abandoned , but they are those that have been collected in kennels and shelters, therefore, they are only the tip of the iceberg, in reality there is a greater number that end up in forests or slaughtered . In reality, the abandonment rate has been decreasing if we compare it to that of two decades ago, however, an increase continues to appear every year at Easter, a few months after Christmas, when the puppies have begun to grow and “give more problems”.
That is why below we leave you with a series of tips to take into account when buying or adopting a dog.
BUY THE DOG ONLY IF YOU WANT TO HAVE IT
It is the most important advice. As much as children commit themselves, swear and perjure that they will be responsible … they are still children. Only very few, the most mature or older will be consistent with their actions. A large percentage, after the novelty, end up getting bored with the new pet and in the end it is the parents who have to take them out for a walk to relieve themselves. In the case of pre-adolescents we can find more support because they already have more freedom to go out on their own but for young children you will be the one who does 80% of the work related to the pet . In addition, the children know very well that you are not going to leave the pet to its fate and they end up relaxing. Therefore, if you are going to buy a dog, do it thinking of you.
EDUCATE YOUR CHILD
Are you going to give him a dog? Very good, but also give him a manual on how to care for him that is easy to read. And above all, teach him that a dog is a friend and that therefore they cannot be neglected, much less abandoned. A dog is not a toy that we throw away when we get tired of it. We have to be responsible. You have to take him out two or three times a day, bathe him, brush him, feed him, vaccinate him, take care of him … and above all give him a lot of love. Make him aware of the issue because a child who in this sense is not empathetic should not have a pet .
On the other hand, you should think about how you are going to react if your child neglects their care . The best thing is that once you have educated your child and sensitized you do not be too strict or strict with him regarding the tasks. Start by assigning him simpler tasks, according to his age and gradually increase the load to avoid total abandonment of responsibility. If there is a day that for whatever reasons your child does not want to take the dog out, it can be ignored, because what we have to avoid is that he sees the dog as a job. But it must be the exception and not the norm. In general, for children between 6-10 years old we have to find that they have a good time with him and that they share happy moments together so thattaking care of the dog is seen as something positive and fun and not as something to be endured. The more moments you spend together, the more times your child will want to be with him.
CHOOSE A BREED COMPATIBLE WITH THEIR AGE
If you are sure you want a dog, not only for the child but also for you, choose one that is compatible with his age . For example, for children who are small , 5 years old or less, you should opt for a quiet one because often, if children are not well educated, they end up treating them like stuffed animals: they hug them, they pull their ears, they stick their fingers in the eyes … And a dog is a living being, not a toy, it has to be treated with respect.
As a general rule, large dogs of the Golden breed , Labradors or Greyhounds make good friends with the little ones. If you want a more playful touch, opt for a Maltese or a Westy, they are also smaller, ideal if you have a flat.
RESEARCH ITS ORIGIN, SHOULD YOU ADOPT A DOG?
A very good option, supportive and also economical is to adopt a dog from a shelter . You will be saving the life of a homeless animal. However, if you decide on this option, you have to go meet the dog and observe its behavior for a few days. An older dog already has a formed character, we can see if it is calm, playful, if it gets along with children, etc. The only thing we have to be careful about is that many of these dogs have been abused by previous owners, living in poor conditions. For this reason, many have traumas that are difficult to cope with, and living with a young child can create stress for them.
He thinks that young children are often unpredictable, and that makes dogs who are insecure very nervous. In a shelter they can advise you which dog would fit well in your house according to your characteristics because they deal with these dogs every day and they know what type of house would suit them best. If, for example, it is a skittish dog, a place with children may not suit it.
If you choose a puppy, you have the advantage that you can educate him from the beginning and influence his character , teaching him habits and giving him self-confidence to make him a happy dog with himself and with others.
If, on the other hand, you prefer to buy it instead of adopting our advice is that you opt for a kennel because that way you will be able to meet the puppies and observe how they interact with each other , and not behind glass. Many of the dogs they sell in stores come from puppy “factories” and when push comes to shove as they get a little older they find it difficult to adapt to a family because they have not been taught to live with humans.
LIVE THE EXPERIENCE BEFORE DECIDING
Finally, if you are not sure how you are going to react as a family to the arrival of the new tenant, we recommend that you seek the opportunity to temporarily host one. In most dog shelters they have a temporary collection program, where the dog will spend a few days with the perhaps future owners, to see if there is compatibility with that family and thus avoid future abandonment. It is also useful to check how a dog would alter the daily routine and how the child responds to its care.