If you have a child that likes dogs at all, chances are you’ve heard this phrase more than once. Puppies are irresistible to most kids, but in my experience, the reality of life with a puppy sometimes doesn’t match up for kids.
The cute factor is impossible to deny and even us grown ups have idyllic images of our kids romping with an adorable puppy in the yard, long walks with him as he gets a bit bigger and ending with a mellow, older dog who sleeps peacefully at the foot of our child’s bed. As with many things, the reality rarely matches our fantasy.
They jump up, grab pant legs and shoe laces, chew kids’ treasured possessions, pull on the leash making walks less than relaxing and bite with those sharp, sharp puppy teeth. Of course with management and training, these things can be brought under control, but it’s a lot of work from everyone in the family.
If your child wants a puppy, before taking the plunge you need to make sure that everyone in the family is on board. Does everyone in the family really want a dog and is everyone willing to contribute to its care and training? Let’s face facts, parents, you are going to do most of the work regardless of your children’s repeated assurances that they will do it all. A puppy is truly a new member of the family and is going to require a lot of time and attention and is going to create some chaos for a while. Is everyone who lives in your house okay with that?
In addition, many kids are disappointed to find that along with a new puppy comes a bunch of new house rules. Legos may not be left on the floor. Shoes have to go in the bin. No screaming and running in circles and getting the dog all wound up. And, no, you may not dress the puppy up and put him in the doll stroller.
I know some of you may be cringing, but my daughters have two rats as pets, and they really love them. They are sturdy, social, trainable, and make great companions. They are also easy to care for, so my daughters are able to do all of work (with a little follow up by me to make sure it’s done). The rats are truly their pets in a way that a dog could never be.