Deciding To Get A Dog

Getting a dog is a major decision. These discussion questions will help kids and families decide if they’re ready for the commitment.

Most kids wish for a dog with all their heart. They beg for the first little furry puppy who comes bounding their way. However, it may not be easy for children to understand just how much care and expense go into keeping a dog.

If you’re a child who has always wanted your very own dog, here are some questions to discuss with your family.

Do I know how to take care of a dog?

Dogs require food, water, shelter, grooming, training, attention, preventatives, and medical care. They get hungry and thirsty, just like people do. They can get lonely and scared. They can feel joy and happiness. They sometimes need medication to keep them healthy, and they feel better when they are clean and groomed. A dog must be gently taught how to behave. A good dog owner must know how to provide for all the dog’s needs or be willing to take instruction from someone who knows.

Am I mature and responsible enough to have a dog?

Being mature and responsible means putting others’ needs ahead of your own. Dogs are not like toys that we play with and then put away until the next time we want to play with them. They must care for every single day of every week for the next 10 to 15 years or longer. That means until you’re in college or after. Being mature and responsible means making the right choice when you’d rather go with a friend after school but remember that your dog depends on you to come home and let him outside to use the bathroom. You may have tons of homework, but you will still need to make time to feed and walk your dog. You may want to go away to camp, but you will have to find someone to take care of your dog.

Would I be kind and gentle with a dog?

Dogs are sensitive animals. They must be handled in a way that makes them feel safe and secure. They require patience and kindness in training and will respond better when it’s fun for them. Dogs also enjoy playing, but their feelings must be respected. They must be allowed to rest when they’re tired and no sudden awakenings, no kicking or shoving, and no teasing or tail-pulling. Otherwise, they may become fearful and bite.

Do I have time to take care of a dog?

A dog requires fresh food and water, dry bedding, and exercise every day. He will also need training and occasional grooming such as a bath, brushing, flea treatment, haircut, nail clip, teeth brushing, and ear cleaning, as well as visits to the veterinarian for routine medical care. And don’t forget the occasional mess to be cleaned up.

Can the family afford a dog?

After the initial price or adoption fee, all the things a dog needs cost money. Discuss with your family the expense of a collar, leash, bed, toys, grooming, food and medical care, and perhaps a fence.

If your family decides to get a dog, choose one that fits your lifestyle. If you love to play fetch, choose a dog who will bring the ball back to you instead of one who snoozes all day. If your family loves its picture-perfect lawn, don’t choose a dog who digs. If you have little time for daily brushing, get a short-haired dog. By choosing the right dog, you will ensure your happiness and the dog’s happiness for years to come.