Acquiring a pet in order to teach a child responsibility about animals is the absolutely worst reason to adopt a pet. You wouldn’t give a seven year old a human baby to look after so why would you do the same with a canine baby? Still people get it in their heads that when it comes to teaching children how to be responsible that a new puppy is the ideal way to do it.
Puppies are more than educational tools. They are living creatures with feelings and needs and should not be part of any experiment when it comes to the development of your child’s character.
Perhaps the biggest misconception that people have about pets is that they can look after themselves and that ,mother nature can take its course., This is simply the worst attitude you can take towards your new animal. All dogs need health care and some measure of training. A child is not really capable of giving that to a new pet.
Technically you are both the parent of the dog (or cat) and the child so you must always keep an eye on both to make sure that the child is doing the basic things required to keep the pet happy including taking him for a walk or changing a litter box. You should also never let a pet be used as part of a power struggle between you and your child. For instance, if your child neglects to take the dog outside or empty the litter box you should do it yourself. You should not wait days for your child to get around to doing it as the personality that is going to suffer the most in this situation is the animal. Both dogs and cats will hold their bladders and give themselves infections if they are not taken out or have a place to go to the bathroom. Of course, it should go without saying that even a worse fate can await a dog or cat that is not fed or given water for days on end because they are in the care of a responsible child.
Remember too that if your child somehow injures the dog or gets bored with it that it is your responsibility to take care of it or find a good home for it.
When selecting a dog it might be of some value to look at why a dog should choose you for an owner rather than at ,what’s in it for the dog., This can also help you decide what type of breed is best. For instance if you have a large yard to offer, you could afford a larger breed than most people. Most of all try to stay away from pets that are notorious for not likening children such as Chihuahuas and Dalmatians. When it comes to dogs usually a bigger dog is better for children. They are harder to injure and tend to be more affectionate. Avoid high-strung cats like Siamese if you are looking for a member of the feline family for your child to take care of.