Most children at some point ask their parents for a pet and looking after an animal can be a great learning experience for children, teaching them a sense of responsibility and care. However, dogs are a huge responsibility and lots of thought must go into deciding if the whole family can take it on as it is a commitment for everyone in the household.
A pet like a dog requires as much attention as any other member of the family. A dog will need attention, grooming, exercising and of course, lots of play. If you have a busy family life, with lots of outside interests, holidays and a hectic working life, do you all have enough time to devote to welcoming a dog into your home and ensure that he gets the care he needs?
Is your child ready to own a pet? Of course, you should be on hand to help look after the dog, but if you really want to teach your child about the responsibility then rules must be clearly set out in terms of the exercise, responsibilities and the care that the dog will need. Children can easily lose interest in pets. In particular, you must also ensure that your child is really ready to handle a pet and observe how they interact with other animals before you commit to a dog. You do not want your child to be frightened of the pet or be too rough when handling the dog as this can lead to problems when settling your new pet into your home.