Teaching Kids to Protect and Care for Their Animals
As most adults are well aware, bringing a pet home is a huge responsibility. And there’s a lot more to it than making sure an animal is fed, sheltered, and groomed. Taking on a pet means providing not just a house, but a home, one in which the animal can lead a healthy and happy life. It means committing more than time and money – you have to commit your heart when you make an animal a member of your family. But kids don’t necessarily understand this. To them a pet may seem like one of their cuddly stuffed animals brought to life. Many children mistakenly believe a pet is there to please them. And so they can get angry when pets don’t behave, or they can neglect their needs. For this reason, you must be prepared to train your kids right along with your pets when you decide to bring animals into the home. Here are a few lessons you’ll need to impart when it comes to teaching your children to protect and care for their pets.
The first lessons should probably be in basics like feeding, grooming, and even training animals. Your pets will obviously need food and water on a regular basis, as well as restroom facilities, whether that means installing a doggy door, using a litter box, or taking them for regular walks. These are tasks that any school-age kid should be able to handle (although you may want to go with them on walks until you’re certain that they’re behaving in a safe manner). Then there is grooming to consider, including brushing, washing, and trimming nails. These are activities that older kids can be taught to perform and that younger children can help you with to some degree. As for training, you’re going to have to teach your kids the proper way to interact with their pets when it comes to issuing commands. And the best way to do this is to join a training course and make your kids participate. In this way, they’ll learn the best methods of safely and responsibly interacting with their animals.
So now that your kids are prepared to care FOR animals, you have to teach them to care ABOUT their pets. You must impress upon them the importance of protecting animals in the home, teaching them that dogs, cats, and other pets are fragile and that they can be easily harmed. But you also need to instill in them a sense of how wrong it is to neglect animals. In truth, telling your kids may not be enough. You might have to find other ways to make them sympathetic to the plight of pets should caretakers fail to fulfill their duties. For example, if you catch your child yelling at pets or pulling their ears or tail in play, you might ask them how they would like being yelled at, or how they might feel if someone was pulling their ears or their arm. And although it may seem harsh, kids that frequently forget feeding duties could be made to wait a short time for a meal so they understand how the animal feels. This is not to say you should starve your kids; it shouldn’t take long to make your point. When kids feel empathy for pets they are much more likely to follow through with proper care.
In truth, some kids simply might not be ready to take on the responsibility of caring for another living being. A good litmus test would be to give them plants to care for and see how it goes before allowing them to have a pet. However, if you think your children are sufficiently prepared to accept the duties that go along with caring for and protecting an animal, you just have to make sure that you are willing to put in the time needed to train your kids. Even if they don’t deliver the same caliber of service as the pros at Taddy’s pet services, for example, they can still offer your animals the care they need, along with a lot of love.