4 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
Most kids love dogs, but they’re not the most experienced with dog care. I’ve noticed that kids will repeat whatever their parents tell them, which can sometimes lead to misunderstandings about dogs. To ensure that your kids become the best dog lovers they can be, here are some things they should learn at an early age. After all, dogs are living creatures and family members, so we want all humans to be kind to us.
#1 – Puppies Shouldn’t be Sold at Pet Stores
When kids want a puppy, they will probably take the first puppy they see. In some cases, that puppy might be in the window of a pet store. Even though humans used to sing about how much the doggy in the window was, that song is very outdated. Pet stores sell puppies from puppy mills, so buying a pet store puppy is only encouraging people to hurt more dogs through inhumane breeding practices. A reputable breeder will want to make sure their puppies go to good homes, so they won’t ship them off to be sold.
Instead, teach kids about rescue dogs. Tell them that there are already thousands of dogs out there waiting for forever homes. After all, kids aren’t picky about dogs, so why not take a chance on a rescue dog? You could be saving their life.
#2 – All Breeds Are Good Dogs
Molly’s heart breaks every time she hears a kid talk badly about a dog. The most common example is Pit Bulls. Many adults despise Pit Bulls because of false assumptions about them, so kids will repeat those opinions without a second thought. Yes, Pit Bulls can bite, but so can all dogs. Most Pit Bulls are very sweet and misunderstood. In fact, the term “Pit Bull” can be used to describe any dog with a stocky build, not just one breed.
Humans should be teaching kids not to judge humans based on looks, so the same should be true for dogs. Don’t let your kid think that one breed is superior to another. Let them know that dogs who bite are a result of humans not training or controlling them properly. All dogs can be good dogs if they’re given a chance.
#3 – Be Gentle Around Dogs
One of the most important things to teach kids about all animals is to be gentle. It’s hard to resist a cute puppy, but humans need to restrain themselves at first. Not all dogs react the same to affection, so being kissed and cuddled by a stranger could spook them. Teach kids to ask for permission before approaching a stranger’s dog.
Also, make sure they’re gentle and keeping their hands away from the dog’s face. If your kids tend to run, jump, and stomp a lot, then it’s best to keep them away from unfamiliar dogs to ensure that everyone stays safe.
#4 – Not All Dogs Want to Be Pet
It’s also important to remind kids that not all dogs want to be pet. Even your own dog might shy away from attention now and then, and that’s okay! Dogs don’t exist just to please humans, we have our own likes and dislikes too.
So, let your kid know that if a dog walks away from them, they should leave them be. It might be tempting to following a cute dog and give them a big hug, but this could lead to many complications. Even the most outgoing dogs might want space now and then, so it’s important for all humans to know that.
#5 – Service Dogs Are Different Than Family Dogs
For kids, it’s exciting to see a service dog walking around in a building. But please don’t encourage your kids to approach service dogs. I know there are many news stories about humans getting upset over not being able to pet a service dog, but that’s ridiculous. Service dogs aren’t the same as family pets. When they’re out in public, they have a job to do, so they need to stay focused.
Of course, service dogs still get plenty of love and care, but petting them distracts them from protecting their humans. If you see a service dog in public, educate your children about the important jobs they do.
#6 – Choosing the Right Dog Requires Patience
Getting a dog is exciting, but humans need to remember that getting a new dog requires patience. Even adults can have a hard time understanding that. Many families are quick to buy an expensive puppy solely based on breed. But you shouldn’t be choosing a family member based on looks! Instead, meet a few dogs and get to know their personalities first. That way, you can see which ones get along best with your family.
If you’re planning to get a dog, remind kids that it’s not an easy process. When meeting adoptable dogs, make sure your kids are a part of the decision-making process. Ask them what they like about each dog and discuss more than just looks. In many cases, the perfect dog isn’t what you’d expect, and your kids will still love them no matter what.
Kids always have lots to learn, so don’t overlook teaching moments related to dogs. The more kids know about dogs, the safer and happier everyone involved will be!
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