So you've granted your kid's wish and adopted them a new dog, but now what? Teaching your child to be a responsible dog owner is actually very easy—all you have to do is instill the good habits we've listed below, and your kid will be learning great responsibilities and bonding with her new best friend in no time.
Love and Affection
There's no doubt that your child will give the new dog ample attention when the pooch is first welcomed into your family, but make sure your kid continues to show the dog a consistent amount of love and affection. By doing so, he and the new pup will develop a great bond, and the affection he shows the dog will also provide a stable emotional foundation for the pup in a new environment.
Explain to your child the importance of exercising her new pup—let her know that exercising a dog helps him grow into a strong and healthy dog. If your kid is too young to walk the dog on her own, make sure she accompanies you on all the walks and try to make it fun so she learns to enjoy this responsibility. Share with your kid the appropriate ways to exercise dogs and what to watch out for depending on the dog's age.
Pick Up the Poop
When your new dog poops for the first time, try to make the entire experience a positive one in order to normalize it for your child. Praise your pooch for going in the appropriate place and then show your kid how to pick up after the dog and where to dispose of the bag. The next time you take your dog out to go to the bathroom, encourage your child to pick up after the dog and praise her after she correctly disposes of the poop bag.
I find the best way to teach a kid to be gentle around animals is to show him how to correctly groom a dog. Teach him how to carefully and correctly brush your new dog, stressing the importance of going slowly and gently, praising the pup throughout the process. When your child has mastered brushing the pooch, teach him how to bathe the pup without alarming her, and finally, show him how to regularly and gently care for the dog's teeth.