Should a Child Take Care of a Puppy?

Parents should not leave care of a puppy up to their child. While children are capable of helping out, they are not mature enough to handle every aspect of puppy care.

Dog ownership is a big responsibility and one that a child is certainly capable of being part of. Children can help with feeding schedules, daily walks and trips outside for the puppy to go to the bathroom. Parents will need to take an active roll in obedience training, veterinary care and ensuring the puppy's nutritional needs are met.

Why Shelters become Overcrowded

Most people simply give up their pet because they found care of a puppy to be too much to handle or that training took too much time. Adding a puppy to your home is irresponsible if you are not certain you and your children are willing to devote the time it takes to train your pet. Be prepared to provide enough attention, usually at least an hour a day for training and walks. Set firm rules regarding what you expect from your child for the care of a puppy before bringing a puppy home.

What Care of a Puppy Entails

Most puppy's bladders can hold urine for a few hours. A puppy must be given the opportunity to go outside at least every three to four hours. If your out of the house twelve hours a day, you probably don't have enough time for proper care of a puppy unless you consider doggy day care or hiring a dog sitter for necessary bathroom breaks.

Puppies should be fed twice a day, so this usually isn't a problem with schedules. Most pet owners feed their puppy at breakfast and dinner. While you are getting breakfast ready, allow your children to feed the puppy and provide a bowl of clean water. About half an hour later, take your puppy out for a bathroom break. Children can easily handle this chore too. Show them how to clean up after the puppy and reward the puppy for going potty outside.

Teething puppies will bite and chew on anything, including children's fingers. Make sure your children understand they must say no and offer a chew toy. If children hit the puppy in retaliation, the puppy will become fearful and potentially aggressive.

Puppies do require a daily walk, usually for a minimum of twenty minutes. In addition, puppies should have obedience training every day, preferably for at least 30 minutes. Children can help teach a puppy basic commands like come, sit, stay, heel, lay and down or off (to prevent jumping up).

The Best Breeds of Child Friendly Puppies

Once you are certain you have the time to handle the requirements involved with care of a puppy, look for child friendly puppies and breeds. Among the leading child friendly breeds are black and yellow labs. They are gentle, easily trained and rarely become aggressive with young children. Other breeds include:

  • Beagle
  • Bichon Frise
  • Bulldog
  • Collie
  • Husky
  • Mastiff
  • Poodle
  • Pug

Some child friendly puppies require more grooming than others, so make sure you are able to meet the dog's grooming requirements.