Every adult remembers their first dog. Usually, after months or even years of begging your parents, they finally agreed to get you your first dog. Even if you were born into a family that already had a furry friend, that feeling of getting your first dog stays with you forever. Adopting a new member of the family is undoubtedly an exciting time for young children. However, before you bring home your rescue, it is essential to sit down and have a brief but meaningful conversation with your children. They need to know what to expect of their new pet and what is going to be expected of them.
#1 - They May Be Shy
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a dog is how wild and playful they can be. Without a doubt, your kids will be impatiently waiting for their opportunity to play with their new dog. That being said, your new pet may not be so ready to be that friendly. Your kids need to remember that everything is going to be brand new and possibly overwhelming for the dog. Also, depending on where they were rescued from, they may not be used to a lot of human contact.
It is essential to give your new dog the space they need to get comfortable. Let them run around the house and sniff every room if they want. Only allow one person to accompany it around the house, so it does not get scared. Have your kids sit on the couch and let him or her come to them. Give your new canine the space it needs to acclimate to its new surroundings. Once he or she is ready, they will let you know, and you can begin playing with them.
#2 - Pick Up Toys and Clean-Up Food
Even the most well-behaved kids tend to leave toys and food around the house from time to time. In the past, you as a parent cleaned up after them when you had the time. However, it is going to be important they begin to clean up after themselves immediately. Puppies are notorious for chewing on small objects and trying to get into food. The last thing you want is your new puppy choking on a toy or eating food that will make them sick.
Explain to your children the serious dangers associated with leaving toys and food behind for the dog to eat. If possible, give yourself a couple of weeks between when you tell your children you are getting a dog and when you actually pick it up. This gives your children the time to get into the habit of being more careful about the messes they make and how quickly they clean up after themselves.
#3 - They Are Everyone’s Responsibility
As an adult, you know that having a pet is not all fun and games. Your children must know this as well. While some of the primary responsibilities may stay with you depending on the age of your children, you can still assign them responsibilities and reinforce their role in taking care of the family pet. Taking care of a pet is a great way to teach young children about maturity and responsibility.
Before your new furry friend makes this way into your home, list out all of the responsibilities associated with taking care of them. This includes feeding, walking, making sure it takes its medicine, and baths in between grooming visits. Your older children should be able to tackle these without a problem. Your younger children can help out where possible and learn what to do for when they get older.
Bringing home a rescue dog is a life-changing moment for any family. It is something your kids and your rescue dog will never forget. While your new pet will provide years of joy, it is still something to prepare yourself for. By talking to your children about these three simple yet essential topics, you are ensuring you’re new rescue dog will enter a safe, attentive, and loving home.