Pet Parent Question: “I want my child to learn responsibility by taking care of our dog. How much responsibility can I give him?”
Dogs and children are amazing, and together they are even more amazing. Their innocence touches our hearts. However, both need supervision, especially when they are together. A child or a dog who does not enjoy being around the other should not be forced to be together.
Giving a child total responsibility for a dog is not appropriate. A child can handle responsibility aligned with their age. A five-year-old can assist with feeding and going on walks with the pet-parent and the dog. They are too young to have any level of responsibility alone. An older child can feed and walk the dog, and pick up dog poop. The pet-parent is the role model and teaches the child how to care for a dog. The pet-parent buys the food and takes the dog to the vet. A child can share in these experiences. If you allow a dog to sleep with family members, the dog will select whom he wants to sleep with. For many of us, sleeping with our dog is pawsome.
Donna Chicone is an award-winning author, TEDx speaker and advocate for dogs. When she’s not writing or speaking about dogs, you will find her engaged in pet-assisted therapy work and K9 Nosework with her dogs.