Having kids help care for a puppy can teach them responsibility and instill a feeling of competency. What tasks a child can do depends on his or her maturity level and the dog’s age and temperament. Parents should keep in mind, however, that children under 12 don’t have the physical or mental ability to care for a dog on their own and should be viewed only as helpers.
Here are a few chores kids can help you with:
Three-year-olds can groom the puppy with a soft brush. They can also help select a collar or toy.
- Four- and five-year-olds can walk the puppy with Mom or Dad. Buy a leash that has a loop at the clasp. Children hold the bottom loop; adults hold the top loop. This way they feel like they’re walking the puppy, but you really are.
- Six- to eight-year-olds can feed the puppy. Give children water or food in a small container that can then be easily poured into the puppy’s dish on the floor.
- Nine- to twelve-year-olds can attend puppy training classes with parents. This is a great way to teach kids (and you) how to communicate effectively and to better understand your new puppy.