Are you thinking about getting a dog for your child? Let me tell you a little story first.
A while back a friend of ours had purchased a dog from a breeder because they had just purchased a home and their kids were wanting a dog. I thought this was a great idea. So being the person I am I sent them an e-book about puppy raising and since they lived across the country from us, I found a couple of good trainers to help them train their puppy. Sadly, the puppy stayed in the crate most of the time and never went to puppy school. Because it was “too hyper” when they took the puppy out of the crate, the puppy wasn’t trained. They also were having a hard time potty training the puppy. To make a long story short, 5 months later they were searching for a home for the puppy. Luckily for the puppy, they were able to find a home for him and he was not turned into a shelter, like so many puppies his age.
But she posted something on her Facebook page that has stuck with me all this time, “Well we have found the puppy a home. And the boys learned a very good lesson.”
Seriously? What lesson did they learn?
To me the only thing they learned is that if things take too much work, then it’s okay to give up, throw in the towel and forget the situation ever happened.
I have had animals all my life, from birds, cats, chickens, rabbits, horses, dogs, fish and even hamsters. My parents always taught me that a pet is for all of their life. It’s a little living being, that thinks, feels and loves. There is a responsibility in taking care of animals.
So if you are thinking of getting a dog for your child remember these things.
A Dog is for Life
Dogs can live from 10-20 years. So even though you may be getting it for your child now, remember it may be yours after your kids run off to college.
A Dog Requires Training
Did you know most of the dogs that end up in shelters are between ages 1-2 years old? The simple fact is that if owners invested in a little time to train their dogs properly most bad habits can be avoided. If you can not afford to go to training, contact your local SPCA for discounted or even free training classes.
Dogs Require Medical Care
Just as your child gets their vaccinations and has trips to the doctor your dog requires them too! To help on unexpected costs pet insurance is always great to have! We have had Trupanion since Riley was a baby and it has always paid for itself.
Dogs can Teach You!
By owning a pet(s) I became a more responsible adult. They also can teach you that love can be unconditional.
I hope that if you don’t have animals take into consideration the fact they are little beings before bringing them into your family that need to be taught just like your children need to be taught. Remember that they are like little toddlers and will remain so for their entire lives. Remember, they are a part of your family for life and only want you to love them.
Please know, I don’t have children yet, we plan on adopting soon so our little family can grow!
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Reading the story made me so sad for that poor puppy! I don’t think people realize how much work having a puppy and dog is in general. I’ve never had a dog before, but I do have kitties. We currently are having behavioral issues with our one cat, and recently started her on Prozac for her anxiety. We are literally trying everything before we would have to look into re-homing her. I truly feel that when you adopt a pet, it should be like adopting a child. You are giving them a forever home, and promising to love them and care for them forever. Yes things happen… maybe allergies, dog not tolerating children etc, but people can’t jump the gun about surrendering, especially if it is a place that would euthanize them. 🙁
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We are hoping to get a dog in this next year. I’ve always said (like what you’ve written here) a dog is like having another child (house breaking, dog training, walking, vet visits, etc), so I would never get one until my youngest was a few years old. I’ve been reading up and talking to others with dogs trying to determine a good breed for our family, but I have a feeling we’ll probably go to our local shelter and talk with them and try to find a good fit for us there.
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Great things to think about when thinking about a pet. We have 2 dogs and the thing that surprised me was the cost.
, especially for 2. We had to hire a petsitter since I worked long hours and being medium sized dogs they needed to be let out mid-day. And annual vet bills can get expensive and we usually have to go once a year for some kind of injury or illness. I will have to look into the pet insurance you mentioned since my dogs are getting older. Other plans I’ve seen haven’t been worth it for us.
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I agree with you. We got my kids a dog several years ago, but we was over a year old and the family was looking for a home. He actually was very well trained and I appreciated not having to go through the full puppy stage since we had a newborn, 2 year old, and 5 year old at the time. My in-laws have done the pattern several times of getting a dog, being all excited, and once the excitement wears off trying to find a new home for him. We are always so frustrated when we hear they have a new pet because we know it is always short lived and so unfair to the animal.
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I had one goldfish and one dog my entire childhood. My son who is almost 8 has been asking for a dog for several years. However his fear of them changes with the wind. My husband and I are both aware that the responsibility is huge and that it will fall on our shoulders if our son doesn’t do his part. I think we will eventually get him one, but when he’s a little older. Thanks for sharing.
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Great post! I am allergic to dogs, cats, birds, and everything else with feathers or fur. This is a good way to educate those that want a pet for their kids. I have friends that have gotten a pet (usually a dog) for their kids only to end up taking care of the dog themselves. Pets are a huge responsibility. The betas that my oldest two boys had a few years ago were work – even though it was two fish in a divided tank! Thank you for the education and personal experience on such an important topic. I will be sure to point friends here when the topic comes up. ~Adrienne P.S. I would love to have you do a guest post on my site about pets. Please contact me if interested.
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Yona Williams says
I completely agree with you about the commitment you need to have when you bring a dog into the home. They do NOT train themselves. A relative got a beautiful Cocker Spaniel before, and it was WELL trained and they’d take it do get beautified often, but since they had some crazy tendencies, it stayed crated (even though it was thoroughly trained) because they were paranoid about their carpets. I felt so bad for the dog, and they wound up giving it away. I would have LOVED to have that dog, but you know how it goes…someone else sees you doing better or having more fun with something in their lane, and to make a long story short – they probably would have repossessed the dog and left me utterly depressed.
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Dorothy @ The Creative Recycler says
I’m a big fan of adopting over buying. Our pup is a mutt that was found as a stray and she’s great.
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Great Post! That’s so sad to hear. So many irresponsible owners out there! We have been going back and forth about buying a dog or adopting for some time. First it was last Christmas, then we waited til this Christmas, and then maybe Easter…Its a lot of responsibility so I am just waiting for when the timing is right and we can give the dog all the attention and training that it needed. We definitely long for our first family pet! I think I may take into consideration pet insurance too since I hear so many nightmare stories about pet medical bills.
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Amen! You are spot on with your thoughts in this post. I have had a dog or dogs since I was a very young girl. One of my dogs actually helped me through a very hard transition of moving from one school district to another when I was in 10th grade. His unconditional love and loyalty got me through that very rough time. The first dog my husband and I had together was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. He was well trained, got his Canine Good Citizen award and was on his way to being trained for Therapy Dog. We didn’t have any kids at the time. Well, HE was our kid! He was the BEST dog, but we took the time to help him become what he was. It was very, very hard when we had to put him down. We currently have two dogs. They misbehave and get into trouble, but I can’t blame them for that. We got them at the same time…they are brothers but we never got them any training or trained them ourselves. Well, they went to a puppy class. We drove over an hour one way to take them. We had two kids by then, didn’t live in the same area so training was not as readily available to us and time was limited. But that is not their fault. It is ours! They both have health conditions (one has had bad seizures since he was 1 1/2 years old and the other started with seizures recently. They are 7 or 8 now) It costs a lot for their medication. These are the very real things you deal with when you have pets. I wish people would read your post before they make the decision to get a pet. They need to know that it is a lifelong commitment.
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Love this post! I am a dog lover, and I am always disappointed and sometimes angry when I hear of people who get dogs and don’t take care of them. I have actually have people tell me that they “don’t believe in” taking animals to a vet. Isn’t that ludicrous? Who gets an animal thinking that it will never have to have any kind of medical attention?
You post is very educational, and you offered sound advice for anyone considering adding a pet to their family.
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I had no idea that people would do such a thing! We too have always been taught that an animal is for life, and I can’t imagine not training a puppy and then giving it away because of its behavior. Thanks for sharing this information. Definitely an eye-opener on my end!
Such a sad story! It’s the same with any living thing – we all need training and boundaries; we all need food and care; we all need attention; we all need our health. It’s sad that people just want the Hallmark moments with a dog, and forget the responsibility, but it’s too common. You made some great points for people who are thinking about getting a pet!
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Couldn’t agree more. Pets are such a responsibility and too often this responsibility comes as a surprise. As someone who travels far to see family, I really have to take my travel schedule into consideration before I could ever get my kid a pet. But it is definitely an opportunity to teach love, care and responsibility. Thanks for taking the time to make us all aware of what it means to have a pet.
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Kelly O'brien says
I have to admit, I am not really an animal person. I do, however, see the value in animals. I have seen some pretty incredible service animals as a project manners. It has only been since I have been involved with my tenants that I have seen the importance in some peoples lives of their animals. Thank you for your article.
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E.W. Allred says
This is great advice! People do not consider all that a dog requires! I know I didn’t. I love my dog but she does take a lot of time and patience, but for the truly committed the love they show and give yoyu is truly worth it! Thanks
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Ben Goode says
These are wonderful tips! Dog ownership is a very big decision and should not be decided lightly! I am going to share this with my son and his family who are considering a dog. Thanks for sharing.
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Jennifer S. says
Our family has always been a cat family. However, a few years ago with an empty nest my parents got a Yorkie-Poo. My mom has been awesome. She educated herself and learned how to train the puppy. He’s still a pretty hyper little dog, but he listens and settles down. I think I’ve enjoyed seeing my mom become a dog person as much as I’ve enjoyed the interactions with her dog.
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I am commenting under my mom’s name because I really enjoyed this article. I plan on sharing it with everyone on my Facebook account. As a pet lover, I can’t abide when people get pets and don’t realize that like children, they need to be taught, loved and nurtured. To trap a dog in a cage endlessly is abusive and it breaks my heart to read about. Thanks for sharing this article. I truly believe it will help others.
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Tzu Mom says
Thank you so much Vicky… this was a hard post for me to write, but I finally gave into myself. It’s so important for people to know that animals are not disposable.
I too see stuff like this on facebook and it breaks my heart. Those poor animals only want someone to love them the way they love their humans. I wish more people would adopt rather than get a puppy. There are so many shelter dogs that need love and a home too.
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My mother has two Shih Tzu’s and put a lot of time into training them. The results are amazing! They go to the door & touch a bell within reach whenever they need to go out for a potty break.
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Great post here and I see these kind on facebook all the time too. They make me so angry at times. Even more when its we took it to the pound and now (insert child’s name) knows about the true responsibility a pet brings.
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Great blog post! My family is a long line of animal lovers. We often talk about how much we love our animal friends and the best ways to care for them. It’s so sad others don’t see them the same way, but so wonderful there are others who do. Thank you for spreading education and knowledge!!
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Elaine Lombardi says
Wonderful post and reminder to all that dogs deserve to be treated as a member of your family.
I have always thought the people should be licensed to own an animal and become a parent. They are such huge responsibilities that too many take lightly. I would love to have a dog but know my current lifestyle doesn’t support that desire. I will wait until I have an environment that will make a dog happy and healthy!
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Your post really resounded with me; people really need to be in the right place in their lives to have pets. They require so much love, care and attention.
We have an 18 year old Maltese (that shows no signs of slowing down) and an 11 year old pug. They were instrumental in my husband and I meeting each other and are best friends. Pug was mine, Maltese his and they started barking at each other one day and the rest is history!
My little furry babies!
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Chelsea Price says
TOTALLY agree! I always sigh at the numerous Facebook posts like, “In search of puppy to surprise our children with for their birthday” or, worse, to “teach our kids responsibility.” A dog (especially a puppy) should not be a gift/surprise unless it is EXTREMELY thought through and researched, and a puppy also should not be purchased as a lesson for kids to learn. A dog – in my opinion – should be thought of as a member of the family, not a spontaneous gift.
When I first read the title of your post, I thought it was referring to something else: Working in a shelter, I came across several couples who never spayed/neutered their pet because they wanted to teach their kids the “miracle of birth.” Keep in mind that the animals giving birth were usually cats or “pit bull” breeds – as if we need more ending up in shelters! That always kind of enraged me 🙂
Great post! Sharing!
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Good information for anyone considering any sort of pet. Training is the best when dealing with an animal that can be trained. My brother had a cat and when he moved out of the home after college, she stayed with our parents only because she was around 15 years old (she lived to be nearly 22) and my brother didn’t think moving her would be good for her health.
Carla A says
Well said, a pet IS for all of their life! A rule we live by at our house for sure!
All very good points! I also think there’s something to be said about researching the right breed for your lifestyle. There are some characteristics such as temperament, exercise needs and grooming requirements that people don’t always look into before picking a breed, focusing only on the ones they think are the ‘cutest.’
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I couldn’t agree more, especially with this statement: “To me the only thing they learned is that if things take too much work, then it’s okay to give up, throw in the towel and forget the situation ever happened.” Yikes, its nice to teach your kids that living beings are disposable if they are interfering with your lifestyle! My husband and I have two dogs (no kids) but they are family to us! I trained both the dogs myself, so you don’t necessarily need a professional trainer either. If you spend time you can teach your dog to go outside and other boundaries for inside living – you can also understand their needs by spending time with them and observing their behavior. Also, if you get a puppy, you have to expect puppy energy! And a final note – different breeds have different temperaments and you should do your research on the dog breed and what you should expect as a pet owner. Seriously, some people shouldn’t own pets (just as I sometimes think that some people shouldn’t have children, lol!) The best thing that happened to that dog was (hopefully) being transferred to a new owner.
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This actually just happened to us (kind of). We live with my mother in law and she took in my step sons mothers dog because they had to move and couldn’t bring little Cookie with them. My MIL has a dog already, but he is old and doesn’t require much effort. Cookie is almost 2. My MIL didn’t want to take the time to train her or take her for walks and only let her out to go the bathroom twice a day (which resulted in Cookie going in the house). My 3yo daughter LOVED Cookie, but since my MIL didn’t want to take the time (which she has plenty of!) to train the dog she just brought her to the shelter. It’s so sad, my daughter and my step sons other siblings were so upset. She should’t have taken Cookie if she didn’t want to invest time with her. We’re all missing Cookie and we hope she gets adopted into a good home =(
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I could not agree more!
Many years ago, we’re talking like 15 now haha, I use to be a BIG cat person. We never really had dogs growing up and, for the most part, my interactions with dogs were never that good.
But, flash forward now to today… and as I write this post, my little dog (a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Pepper who is super amazing) is sitting right next to me on the couch.
I honestly never saw myself changing from a “cat person” to a “dog person” but lord, this dog is my little girl. I love her to death! haha
You’re so right though about them being part of the family, they are and they have to be. I just don’t understand how some folks really do treat them so poorly (really for any animal to be honest).
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Great post and I couldn’t agree more! We have two dogs, a Jack Russel and a yellow lab, and they are very much a part of our family. Pets are a commitment just like having children. You need to think long term about the responsibility of caring for them, the cost of medical treatment, who will take care of them when you go on vacation and making sure they are well-trained and socialized. It’s not fair to children to expect them to take on that responsibility just because they tell you they want a dog. As adults, we need to teach our children what it means to be responsible pet owners. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and tips!
I agree. A dog is a huge responsibility! We inherited a second dog from a relative who “didn’t have time for her anymore” They had had this dog for 7 years and just gave her up. I can’t imagine giving up one of our dogs barring some tragic circumstance. After we took her in, we learned she had never been to a vet in 7 years! Needless to say we corrected that fast. Later we learned she had spent most of her time locked in a guest bathroom, which explained her hyper activity. Our Dogs are like family to us.
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Andi Nicole H says
I liked this post a lot. So many people don’t realize that animals are “human” too! We have not gotten a dog yet but someday soon. I am just waiting till my oldest can take care of himselfand then it would ideal to have another family member 🙂
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Debi Randol says
Love this! We love our fur babies as much as our skin babies. Thanks for the tip on the pet insurance too!
I did not realize that many dogs in shelters are 1-2 years old but that makes sense to me. Sad when people don’t recognize the love that is needed for an animal. Thank you for the time it took to prepare this post!
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I really appreciated your post and wish more people felt the way you do! Animals are such a blessing and joy, but do require work – just like children!!! Thanks!
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Melody Maynard @ Joyfully Ever After says
Amen!! Pets that are adopted just for the children often end in disaster. I completely agree that adopting a pet should be a family decision. My family has always followed the rule that pets are for life. We did have to find a new home for our six llamas last April. We were having trouble with expenses for hay, shots, etc. . . My dad had injured his back, and I was getting ready to get married and leave home . . . Thankfully we were able to find a nice farm with responsible and caring people to take them in. . . My husband and I just adopted a cat from a local animal shelter a couple months ago. She is our pride and joy! Thanks for writing with such passion and honesty.
( and it’s awesome that you adopted through Best Friends . . . it’s a dream of mine to visit there one day)
I loved reading this, Christine. I was raised surrounded by various animals from kittens and puppies to ducks and pigeons. I adored days spent around them, learnt to look after them and pet them. However in my adult life there isn’t a suitable space for raising a dog or cat even if I would want my daughter to be responsible for one. If we ever choose to love an animal, it will never be gifted, I don’t understand the whole concept of being gifted with a living creature. Because they are companions for life and that’s how we should see them.
Tzu Mom says
Yes, I totally agree, they should never be gifted. And I just love your comment “choose to love an animal” ! yes they are to be loved, and I truly believe they are members of our families 🙂 Thank you for stopping by Eli!
These are such great points! My kids have been wanting a dog for about a year, but I just can’t imagine us having enough time right now. I’m hoping soon, but I refuse to get an animal that we won’t be able to take care of properly!
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Tzu Mom says
I applaud you Carla!!! I wish everyone was more like you. 🙂
I’ve seen this happen too with young families. Raising and training a dog is a pretty big time commitment and families with young children might not understand the amount of time and energy required to have a dog and train it so it’s well-behaved. Parents also have to be very involved with the dog and not expect kids to totally take care of it, as if it were a fish. Some young families do an awesome job with handling kids and dogs when they understand and accept the commitment before making the decision.
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Tzu Mom says
So true!! I find that those that make it a family “thing” and accept the responsibility as a group actually are very successful. 🙂
Rachel Sheppard says
Great post! I couldn’t agree more! I don’t like when people give into their children’s request, but aren’t prepared to care for dogs themselves.
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GROOVY GOLDENDOODLES says
I have seen this happen too many times myself. It’s so sad, AND most people think they’ve done something wonderful by “giving the dog away!” Don’t they realize that the puppy has no idea what’s gone wrong and how traumatic it is for them to be uprooted? So sad…
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